The A-Z of Rally Corsica, by Red Bull TV Guest Report Cyril Despres

Want to know all about Corsica? Just ask a man who has been there more often than most of the WRC drivers competing on this weekend’s Tour de Corse. Cyril Despres, a five-time Dakar Rally winner on bikes, made his name in the desert, but he loves mountains too. That’s why a Frenchman who’s conquered the toughest cross country rally in the world comes to Corsica every year: to appreciate the roads, the culture, and above all the scenery. As a taster of the WRC action and adrenaline starting on Friday on Red Bull TV, here’s everything you need to know about our special reporter Cyril and Corsica, from A to Z…

A FOR ANDORRA. “It’s my home town with scenery that is actually a bit similar to Corsica. I love it.”

B FOR BAVELLA. “It’s a famous mountain in the north of Corsica, which has got some fantastic mountain bike trails that I enjoy riding up.”

C FOR CHESTNUT SPECIALITIES. “You get lots of chestnut-based products in Corsica, chestnut jam (which is delicious with cheese) and even chestnut beer.”

D FOR DAKAR RALLY. “It’s the race that has defined my life: my passion and my dream. Unlike the WRC, it’s an endurance rally that takes place across the desert covering thousands of kilometres. I’ve managed to win it five times on bikes and, now that I’m competing on four wheels for Peugeot, I also want to win it in a car.”

E FOR ENTHUSIASM. “I approach everything I do with enthusiasm, 100 per cent. Whether that’s riding bikes in the desert or presenting WRC on Red Bull TV for the first time. Otherwise what’s the point?”

F FOR FIGATELLU. “It’s a type of dry, Corsican salami that you find a lot all over the island. You can have it as an aperitif or even on a pizza. It’s really good!”

G FOR GR20. “This is one of the most spectacular nature trails in the world, which goes all the way from the north to the south of Corsica. So for those who can’t experience Corsica in a WRC car, you can still hike!”

H FOR HOLIDAYS. “And guess where I go most often? Yes, it’s Corsica. I’ve probably been about 18 times in the last 20 years. But this is my first time as a TV presenter…”

I FOR INCOGNITO. “One of my favourite things about Corsica is that you can do what you want. You’re just free to be yourself and enjoy the outdoors.”

J FOR JOGGING. “Fitness is a really big passion of mine and I love to go jogging on the beach. Palombaggia beach is a very good place for jogging near Porto Vecchio, where the rally finishes.”

K FOR KRIS MEEKE. “Kris, who drives for Citroen, lives in Andorra too so we see each other quite a lot. We talk about rallying when we’re together, but we often go out with our families too, and our daughters like to play with each other…”

L FOR LOEB. “Seb is not only the guy I’m proud to call my team mate in our Peugeot cross country team, but also the most successful WRC driver in history. His nine world titles speak for themselves; and it’s amazing that he won the Tour de Corse once by winning all the stages!”

M FOR MURATO. “This is one of the nicest villages in Corsica, which is really worth a visit. It’s not far from Bastia, which is where the service park of the rally is.”

N FOR NATURE. “Corsica is all about the most amazing nature. Along with Morocco, it’s probably the most beautiful place in the world.”

O FOR ORIGINAL. “Original, as in ‘like nowhere else’. That’s how I’d describe Corsica and the Tour de Corse. It would be fantastic to drive it myself one day.”

P FOR PETER. “Which is the nickname for Stéphane Peterhansel: the most successful Dakar driver in history and my other team mate in the Peugeot team. He’s won the Dakar six times on a bike and seven times in a car, so he’s a real role model for me.”

Q FOR QUIET. “You experience the most incredible peace and quiet in Corsica. In the countryside at night, you can switch of all the lights and there’s complete silence.”

R FOR RED WINE. “Corsica produces some really good red wine, with mostly Italian grape varieties. One of my favourites is Clos Canarelli.”

S FOR SUN. “I always associated Corsica with sunshine, during my holidays, but high up in the mountains, where the rally route runs, there’s also often fog and rain. It’s just one part of the challenge of the Tour de Corse.”

T FOR TURNS. “Corsica is called the ‘Rally of 10,000 Corners’ but the truth is that there are a lot more than that. It’s just hairpin after hairpin after hairpin. You’ll see that in the Red Bull TV highlights shows. Tune in on redbull.tv.”

U FOR UTV. “It’s an all-terrain buggy, a bit like a quad bike. I love riding those in Corsica; it’s so easy to head off the beaten track and explore some place that no cars or people go.”

V FOR VISIT CORSICA. “That’s what I recommend everyone should do. If you go during rally time, stay for a few days afterwards to make the most of the island.”

W FOR WAKEBOARD. “Water sports are really popular in Corsica and there are so many different things you can try: from whale watching to wake boarding! But wakeboarding is one of my favourites.”

X FOR XENON. “Rally cars use Xenon spotlights but there are no night stages in Corsica so you don’t need them anymore. That’s a bit of a shame as personally I like night rallying: there are big distances in the Dakar that we do in the dark.”

Y FOR YAMAHA. “This is the bike brand I rode for on the Dakar and I am still associated with them now. I might just be using one to get around some of the Corsican stages with Red Bull TV; watch and find out.”

Z FOR ZAZ. “She’s one of my favourite French singers and has become really famous. Perfect to listen to on holidays (or on the rally), driving over a winding Corsican road!”