Reigning World Rally Champion Sebastien Ogier believes his Volkswagen Motorsport team-mate Jari-Matti Latvala is in prime position to claim victory in the manufacturer's final WRC appearance before withdrawing from the series.
Having topped the Rally Australia shakedown Ogier is adamant his unfavourable starting road position on the first two days of action will make it incredibly difficult for him to be in contention for victory in the last round of 2016.
Ogier, who has already wrapped up the WRC drivers' crown, picks Volkswagen team-mate Jari-Matti Latvala as his favourite to win down under to give the German manufacturer a triumphant goodbye as it exits the championship at the end of 2016.
“The Shakedown passed without any problems,” Ogier said having topped the shakedown by one-tenth from Andreas Mikkelsen in the third VW. “Julien and I would obviously like to finish on the podium at Volkswagen's final rally, but that will be far from easy. The starting position has a huge influence here.
“We have a hard weekend ahead of us but we try always to do our best. The profile of the road is beautiful here, so we will try to enjoy. I wish for a win, but if I am a bit honest I think my chances are very little. Running first on the road in one of the toughest events of the season, probably I won't be fighting for the victory this weekend but I will give it everything I have.
“I think Jari-Matti [Latvala] has a good card in his hands to make something good this weekend and I will fight for anything I can get.”
After claiming four consecutive WRC titles with VW, Ogier is looking to end his time on a high while looking to secure his future in 2017. It is believed a number of factory teams are already offering contracts to the Frenchman to secure the dominating force in WRC for next season.
“However, the fact that Australia will be the final rally with our team overshadows everything else,” he said. “We have had four fantastic and incredibly successful years with our team in the World Rally Championship. I will always remember this time. I will be thinking of that this weekend.”