Citroen's Dani Sordo has taken the early lead on Rallye de France, after setting the pace in the Strasbourg Power Stage, although understandably all the attention was focussed on Sebastien Ogier, who was crowned the 2013 WRC Drivers' champion.

Ogier came within a whisker of clinching the title following his victory in Australia last month. However, for Thierry Neuville to prolong the fight and remain in mathematical contention, the Belgian had to win the Power Stage and when he failed to do so - finishing 0.7 seconds behind Sordo - that was it.

Ogier incidentally, finished third on his run through the 4.55 km test, 0.1 seconds behind Neuville and out-pacing Sebastien Loeb, who he was paired with by 2.1 seconds.

Related Articles

Mikko Hirvonen meanwhile was fourth quickest, followed by Andreas Mikkelsen and Jari-Matti Latvala. Behind, Evgeny Novikov, Martin Prokop and former F1 driver, Robert Kubica rounded out the top ten, the latter also heading the WRC2 class.

The event now continues on Friday, with two loops of three stages on the bill. SS2, the 10.66 km Klevener test, is due to start at 09.18 hours local time [08.18 hours UK time].

Rallye de France-Alsace: Overall standings after Stage 1 (Top 10):

1. Dani Sordo Abu Dhabi Citroen Total WRT DS3 WRC 03m 20.8s M
2. Thierry Neuville Qatar WRT Ford Fiesta RS WRC +00m 00.7s M
3. Sebastien Ogier Volkswagen Motorsport Polo R WRC +00m 00.8s M
4. Mikko Hirvonen Citroen Total Abu Dhabi WRT DS3 WRC +00m 01.4s M
5. Andreas Mikkelsen Volkswagen Motorsport II Polo R WRC +00m 01.5s M
6. Jari-Matti Latvala Volkswagen Motorsport Polo R WRC +00m 02.6s M
7. Sebastien Loeb Citroen Total Abu Dhabi WRT DS3 WRC +00m 02.9s M
8. Evgeny Novikov Qatar M-Sport WRT Ford Fiesta RS WRC +00m 03.7s M
9. Martin Prokop Jipocar Czech National Team Ford Fiesta RS WRC +00m 06.3s M
10. Robert Kubica Citroen DS3 RRC +00m 07.4s WRC2

Others

11. Mads Ostberg Qatar M-Sport WRT Ford Fiesta RS WRC +00m 07.8s M
12. Romain Dumas Ford Fiesta RS WRC +00m 10.2s
13. Elfyn Evans Qatar M-Sport WRT Ford Fiesta R5 +00m 12.3s WRC2
14. Lionel Baud Ford Fiesta RS WRC +00m 12.5s
15. Robert Barrable Ford Fiesta R5 +00m 13.0s WRC2
16. Tomas Kostka Citroen DS3 WRC +00m 14.5s
17. Sebastien Chardonnet Citroen DS3 R3T +00m 15.1s WRC3

Rallye de France-Alsace: Power Stage / SS1 (Top 3):

1. Dani Sordo Abu Dhabi Citroen Total WRT DS3 WRC 03m 20.8s M
2. Thierry Neuville Qatar WRT Ford Fiesta RS WRC +00m 00.7s M
3. Sebastien Ogier Volkswagen Motorsport Polo R WRC +00m 00.8s M

NOTE: Top three finishers in Power Stage are awarded bonus points. 1st = 3 points; 2nd = 2 points; 3rd = 1 point

WRC2 standings after Stage 1 (Top 3):

1. Robert Kubica Citroen DS3 RRC 3m 28.2s WRC2
2. Elfyn Evans Qatar M-Sport WRT Ford Fiesta R5 +00m 04.9s WRC2
3. Robert Barrable Ford Fiesta R5 +00m 05.6s WRC2

WRC3 standings after Stage 1 (Top 3):

1. Sebastien Chardonnet Citroen DS3 R3T 3m 35.9s WRC3
2. Quentin Gilbert Citroen DS3 R3T +00m 02.3s WRC3
3. Stephane Consani Citroen DS3 R3T +00m 03.2s WRC3

JWRC standings after Stage 1 (Top 3)

1. Jose Antonio Suarez Ford Fiesta R2 +3m 47.4s JWRC
2. Yeray Lemes Ford Fiesta R2 +00m 00.1s JWRC
3. Pontus Tidemand Ford Fiesta R2 +00m 00.5s JWRC

Notable retirements:

None

*denotes re-started under the Rally 2 regulations
M denotes Manufacturer entry

all times unofficial