WRC Rally Australia: Ogier strikes back

Sebastien Ogier completes SS12 of Rally Australia with a 10.3 second cushion over team-mate Jari-Matti Latvala; Kris Meeke now holds third, 1.3 seconds up on Andreas Mikkelsen; Mikko Hirvonen rounds out the top five
Sebastien Ogier fought back this afternoon on Rally Australia, winning both tests to finish the loop in the lead.

Ogier had slipped to second this morning, 4.1 seconds adrift of Volkswagen team-mate, Jari-Matti Latvala. However, the pendulum swung firmly in the other direction this afternoon, with the Frenchman acing SS11, the repeat-run through the 48.92 km Nambucca test.

Rain was forecast, but it never materialised, and with Ogier opting for three hard tyres and one soft that allowed him to pull ahead. Indeed Latvala was 'only' fourth quickest in SS11, conceding 13.4 seconds after he went for all soft tyres at the rear.

Ogier then topped SS12 as well, taking another second out of Latvala, and he now has a 10.3 second advantage.

“These two last stages have been good, no mistakes. We took advantage of Jari-Matti's wrong tyre choices. Okay, ours wasn't perfect either, but not a bad day,” stated the Frenchman.

“Unfortunately the lead is over ten seconds,” Latvala added after SS12, “but the car is going well, we did a really good stage. I couldn't have gone faster and I have to be happy with our performance. Seb has been driving very well this afternoon and that's how it is.”

Citroen's Kris Meeke meanwhile has now taken third, and while he beat Volkswagen Motorsport II pilot Andreas Mikkelsen in both SS11 and SS12, there was nothing much in it, with only 0.6 seconds separating them in Nambucca 2 and 1.5 seconds in Valla 2.

Behind, M-Sport's Mikko Hirvonen lost more ground and is now almost a minute back in P5. He went for all soft tyres in SS11 and lost out when it didn't rain.

Mads Ostberg has got ahead of Hyundai's Hayden Paddon and is up to sixth in his Citroen DS3 WRC.

Thierry Neuville holds eighth and despite losing the front bumper and damaging the bonnet of his Hyundai i20 WRC, when lost the rear and hit a pole in SS12, he has leapfrogged Elfyn Evans. Evans, like his M-Sport team-mate Hirvonen, also went for four soft tyres for SS11 in anticipation of the forecast rain.

Former Formula 1 driver Robert Kubica completes the top ten, losing over a minute and two places on the overall leaderboard, when he went off in SS12.

In WRC2, Yazeed Al-Rajhi remains in the lead, but his advantage over Nasser Al-Attiyah has been cut from 9.2 seconds to just 3.

The second leg now concludes - as it did on Friday - with two runs through the 1.56 km Hyundai Super Special Stage.

Rally Australia: Overall standings after Stage 12 (Top 10):

1. Sebastien Ogier Volkswagen Motorsport Polo R WRC 2hours 00m 34.8s M
2. Jari-Matti Latvala Volkswagen Motorsport Polo R WRC +00m 10.3s M
3. Kris Meeke Citroen Total Abu Dhabi WRT DS3 WRC +00m 23.9s M
4. Andreas Mikkelsen Volkswagen Motorsport II Polo R WRC +00m 25.2s M
5. Mikko Hirvonen M-Sport WRT Ford Fiesta RS WRC +01m 21.4s M
6. Mads Ostberg Citroen Total Abu Dhabi WRT DS3 WRC +02m 01.0s M
7. Hayden Paddon Hyundai Motorsport N i20 WRC +02m 08.8s M
8. Thierry Neuville Hyundai Motorsport i20 WRC +03m 48.1s M
9. Elfyn Evans M-Sport WRT Ford Fiesta RS WRC +03m 55.3s M
10. Robert Kubica RK M-Sport WRT Ford Fiesta RS WRC +04m 30.9s M


11. Chris Atkinson Hyundai Motorsport i20 WRC +06m 54.2s M
12. Yazeed Al-Rajhi Ford Fiesta RRC +06m 59.5s WRC2
13. Nasser Al-Attiyah Ford Fiesta RRC +07m 02.5s WRC2
14. Jari Ketomaa Ford Fiesta R5 +07m 09.8s WRC2

WRC2 standings after Stage 12 (Top 3):

1. Yazeed Al-Rajhi Ford Fiesta RRC 2hrs 07m 34.3s WRC2
2. Nasser Al-Attiyah Ford Fiesta RRC +00m 03.0s WRC2
3. Jari Ketomaa Ford Fiesta R5 +00m 10.3s WRC2

Notable retirements:


M denotes Manufacturer entry

all times unofficial
by Rob Wilkins

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Sebastien Ogier (FRA) Julien Ingrassia (FRA) Volkswagen Polo R WRC

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