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Hyundai driver Thierry Neuville says he will let Sebastien Ogier go and focus on holding onto second place during the rest of the Tour de Corse.
World champion Ogier has won three of the day’s four stages to build a 33-second lead over chief title rival and last year’s Corsica winner Neuville, who is only 5.1s and 10.6s ahead of Kris Meeke and Ott Tanak.
Neuville said: “We have to accept that we can’t beat them [Ogier].
“We stay positive and keep the guys behind us.
“I really tried in that last stage, I pushed hard.”
Neuville’s big push netted him a tenth of a second from Ogier in the 8.5-mile Piedigriggio-Pont de Castirla test which closed out the opening day.
Ogier has warned he will maintain his flat-out attack into the second day of the Corsican event, despite his growing advantage at the front of the field.
Asked if he felt in control of the event, Ogier told Autosport: “Control is a big word on a rally like this.
“Today has been good, has it been perfect? I don’t know, but I am satisfied.
“There are too many long stages still to go – look at the final day, we still have a 55-kilometre (34-mile) stage on Sunday morning.
“We don’t know what will happen and it’s so hard to drive these really long stages when you have no splits – you just don’t know what you are doing, is it good enough? How does it compare?
“The approach has to stay the same, we keep on pushing.”