Britain's Kris Meeke set the pace in qualifying for Rally Australia and will now get first pick of starting position for the tenth round in the 2013 World Rally Championship

Meeke, who has been handed a second chance at the wheel of the Citroen DS3 WRC off the back of his impressive showing in Finland, immediately made an impact, completing the 5.54 km test in 2 minutes 39.268 seconds. That put him 0.336 seconds up on Sebastien Ogier, who was 'best of the rest'.

"It's all about road position here, and that was perfect for me!" Meeke told the official WRC site. "It's not like Finland because this stage is new for everyone. It's a level playing field and I knew that I could deliver given a clean run."

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Thierry Neuville meanwhile came in third, 0.645 seconds off Meeke, with team-mate Mads Ostberg fourth, despite hitting a rock midway through.

Behind, Andreas Mikkelsen rounded out the top five, followed by Mikko Hirvonen, Evgeny Novikov and Jari-Matti Latvala.

Khalid Al-Qassimi and local pilot Nathan Quinn completed the top ten.

Drivers will now select their start positions at 16.15 hours local time [07.15 hours UK time].

The event then starts with two runs through the short 1.60 km Coffs super special stage, scheduled to start at 18.30 hours local time [09.30 hours UK time].

Rally Australia - Qualifying stage:

1. Kris Meeke Citroen Total Abu Dhabi WRT DS3 WRC 2m 39.268s M
2. Sebastien Ogier Volkswagen Motorsport Polo R WRC +0.336s M
3. Thierry Neuville Qatar WRT Ford Fiesta RS WRC +0.645s M
4. Mads Ostberg Qatar M-Sport WRT Ford Fiesta RS WRC +1.261s M
5. Andreas Mikkelsen Volkswagen Motorsport II Polo R WRC +1.396s M
6. Mikko Hirvonen Citroen Total Abu Dhabi WRT DS3 WRC +2.062s M
7. Evgeny Novikov Qatar M-Sport WRT Ford Fiesta RS WRC +2.089s M
8. Jari-Matti Latvala Volkswagen Motorsport Polo R WRC +2.193s M
9. Khalid Al-Qassimi Abu Dhabi Citroen Total WRT DS3 WRC +6.621s M
10. Nathan Quinn MINI John Cooper Works WRC +8.245s

all times unofficial