Volkswagen Motorsport driver Sébastien Ogier has taken one step closer to claiming his first world title as he overnights at the head of the Rally Australia leaderboard after two full days of competition. Citroën’s Mikko Hirvonen holds second and Thierry Neuville is third in the Ford Fiesta RS WRC.
Today’s second day of competition took in two identical loops of two stages over open shire roads south of Coffs Harbour before returning to the rally base for two further runs around the super special stage. In total, including the two runs over the demanding 49.90 kilometre Nambucca stage, the route covered 132.68 competitive kilometres.
Ogier started the day at the head of the field this morning and the Frenchman has had another perfect day, winning each of the four longer stages before setting the pace on both super specials to take a clean sweep of fastest times. He now has 45.9 seconds in hand to Hirvonen, who has similarly largely run without problems. Neuville is further adrift in third but now has a reasonable cushion to fourth-placed Jari-Matti Latvala, following the retirement of Kris Meeke. Latvala suffered a puncture in the second stage but disaster struck Meeke in the following test when he went off the road and rolled out of the rally. Andreas Mikkelsen moved up the leaderboard into fifth with Mads Østberg in sixth, the Norwegian losing time when he ran wide in SS14, slipped into a ditch and spun. Evgeny Novikov, in seventh, also sustained a puncture earlier in the day and he heads local hero Nathan Quinn.