World Rally Championship leader Sebastien Ogier has taken the lead in Rally Australia after an impressive performance in Friday’s final stage.
A daring play from World Rally Championship leader Sebastien Ogier in Rally Australia’s shortest leg has paid off, with the Frenchman winning Friday night’s stage.
He trailed Citroën’s Kris Meeke after six hard-fought stages in the Coffs Coast forests on Friday, but Ogier pushed hard around the wet, treacherous, concrete-lined Super Special spectator stage to claim the win.
Ogier’s victory has him at the top of the overall Rally Australia standings, relegating the plucky Meeke to fourth spot.
“I pushed all the way, even in these small stages. It was slippery, but we are pleased for the day,” Ogier said.
Volkswagen – the WRC’s most dominant team of the past two years – fills the top three places going into Saturday’s set of six stages.
Finn Jari-Matti Latvala is in second position 0.4 seconds behind Ogier, with Norway’s Andreas Mikkelsen a further 3.5 seconds back.
Former Production World Rally champion Hayden Paddon is sixth, one spot behind Ford’s Finnish ace Mikko Hirvonen.
The young New Zealander leads Hyundai’s factory effort, with teammates Thierry Neuville and Australian Chris Atkinson sitting in 10th and 11th, respectively.
The crews will kick off Saturday’s stages with the huge Nambucca test. At 49km in length, it is one of the longest stages in the entire World Rally Championship, while forecast overnight rain could make it one of the sternest tests of the year.