Urmo Aava managed to notch up his fifth points finish of the season on the Rallye de France-Tour de Corse last weekend, the thirteenth round in this year's World Rally Championship.

Aava, who was on course to score in Spain the week before too, until a crucial error in the penultimate stage, began the Ajaccio-based event pretty strongly and he was eighth quickest through the opening test in his PH Sport-run C4 WRC.

However, he then picked up a 1 minute penalty prior to SS2 after he broke a shock absorber in a pothole. That dropped him down to 17th, but he soon bounced back. Indeed he was up to tenth by the end of Friday's action and up into seventh following the first test on day two, a position he held right to the end - finishing 1 minute 15 seconds off Subaru works driver Chris Atkinson in sixth and over 1.5 minutes up on Matt Wilson in eighth.

In total he set 14 top-ten stages time out of 16 - including a fifth fastest time on the final day in SS14.

"It's been a good weekend apart from a few technical problems that we had on Friday," said the World Rally Team Estonia man. "We didn't push at all today, the goal was to keep seventh place."

Conrad Rautenbach meanwhile did not fare so well in the other PH Sport-run C4 WRC - and he had to settle for 14th after two punctures on the second day ruined his event.

"I was really looking forward to this one and I was pretty confident of points coming to it," Rautenbach reflected. "I knew the pace we had driven at in Catalunya and I knew what I was capable of. It's just so frustrating.

"The first puncture came not far after the start of SS9. There was a tricky right over crest into a first gear left-hander. I was concentrating on the first part of the sequence and we hit something with the front-right. I guess it's something I should have picked up on the recce.

"We stopped the change the tyre, but then David [Senior - my co-driver] had trouble undoing the straps which hold the spare wheel in place, so it took us three minutes to change.

"As if that wasn't enough, we then clipped a kerb with the right-rear tyre in stage 11 and caught our second puncture of the day. Actually, this was our third as we'd left lunchtime service with a slow puncture on the car as well! We stopped to change in SS11. The good news this time was that we improved our tyre-changing time by one minute!

"This just wasn't what I'd expected from this event at all however. The way things have gone, we'd have been right in the points, but that - as they say - is rallying. It doesn't make it any easier though.

"Now it is Rally Japan and another new one for me. Then again, it's a new one for everybody [as the event has moved from Obihiro to Sapporo this year]. Let's get over there and see what we can do."



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