Citroen's Dani Sordo was quickest this morning in the shakedown for Rallye de France-Alsace, the eleventh round in the 2013 World Rally Championship.

Sordo, who sat out the last event in Australia, after being replaced by Kris Meeke, completed the 3.80 kilometre stage in the Hautepierre district in 2 minutes 36.5 seconds, putting him 1.5 seconds up on Thierry Neuville and Mikko Hirvonen, who were joint second.

"I'm feeling very, very good and happy to have set the fastest time," Sordo told the official WRC site, "The car is feeling good and maybe the confidence that comes with winning a rally [my first in Germany in August] is helping. It will give me a boost, but of course it's not everything. I think road position is going to be important here.

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"We're fifth on the road, and there is a possibility of rain so it will be muddy and slippery but there's nothing I can do about that. We'll just do our best."

Jari-Matti Latvala meanwhile came in fourth, with the 'two Sebs', Sebastien Loeb and Sebastien Ogier joint fifth, the latter having to stop on his first run through when a sunken metal bollard began to rise automatically: "It's a good job I was flagged down because if I had hit it my weekend would have been over," said Ogier, 2013 WRC champion elect.

Behind Andreas Mikkelsen was seventh, while Evgeny Novikov, Mads Ostberg and Romain Dumas rounded out the top ten.

The event now gets underway 'proper' later on today with SS1 - the 4.55 km run through the Strasbourg Power Stage, set to start at 16.00 hours local time [15.00 hours UK time].

Rally de France-Alsace - Shakedown - Top 12:

1. Dani Sordo Abu Dhabi Citroen Total WRT DS3 WRC 2m 36.5s M
2. Thierry Neuville Qatar WRT Ford Fiesta RS WRC 2m 38.0s M
= Mikko Hirvonen Citroen Total Abu Dhabi WRT DS3 WRC 2m 38.0s M
4. Jari-Matti Latvala Volkswagen Motorsport Polo R WRC 2m 39.0s M
5. Sebastien Loeb Citroen Total Abu Dhabi WRT DS3 WRC 2m 39.4s M
= Sebastien Ogier Volkswagen Motorsport Polo R WRC 2m 39.4s M
7. Andreas Mikkelsen Volkswagen Motorsport II Polo R WRC 2m 39.6s M
8. Evgeny Novikov Qatar M-Sport WRT Ford Fiesta RS WRC 2m 39.9s M
9. Mads Ostberg Qatar M-Sport WRT Ford Fiesta RS WRC 2m 40.6s M
10. Romain Dumas Ford Fiesta RS WRC 2m 42.4s
11. Tomas Kostka Citroen DS3 WRC 2m 43.0s
12. Martin Prokop Jipocar Czech National Team Ford Fiesta RS WRC 2m 43.6s M

all times unofficial - courtesy of

Note: There is no qualifying stage in France as it is an asphalt event. Qualifying is only deemed necessary on gravel events, where starting position is more critical as the roads can clean if it is dry, meaning those out first end up acting as 'road sweepers'.