WRC Rally Australia: Mikkelsen pulls away from Ogier, Camilli rolls

Andreas Mikkelsen completes Sunday's opening loop of Rally Australia with his lead over Sebastien Ogier up to 22.7secs; Thierry Neuville holds third after Hayden Paddon lost over 50secs in SS20 when he went wide and hit a bank; Eric Camilli rolls out in SS21
CLICK HERE for Rally Australia leaderboard after SS21

Volkswagen's Andreas Mikkelsen looks poised to win Rally Australia having pulled away from team-mate Sebastien Ogier on Sunday's opening loop.

Mikkelsen, who began the day just 2secs up on Ogier, was quickest in all three tests and with his French rival spinning in SS20, the 31.90 km Bucca16 test, and losing around 15secs, that looks to have been decisive.

“I've never driven so fast and felt so comfortable before,” said Mikkelsen after SS21. “It brings a lot of confidence. Now I'm not driving crazy but setting good times.

“It's really coming together.”

Meanwhile, Ogier seems to have conceded defeat after his error in SS20.

“Now the battle is over but for sure we enjoyed the fight for two fantastic days," he said after Wedding Bells16. "Andreas has done a good job. Okay, the rally is not over yet but if he wins it will be a well-deserved victory.”

Behind, Thierry Neuville has moved up to third after Hyundai team-mate Hayden Paddon hit a bank in SS20 and knocked the tyre of the rim. That error cost the Kiwi over 50secs, dropping him from P3 to P5, with Hyundai Motorsport N pilot Dani Sordo also gaining a position as a result.

It also means that Neuville will now retain second spot in the Drivers' Championship, regardless of whether Mikkelsen wins and takes maximum points in the Power Stage.

M-Sport's Mads Ostberg completes the top-six, 9 secs off Paddon, with DMACK's Ott Tanak and WRC2 leader Esapekka Lappi seventh and eighth respectively.

Ford privateer Lorenzo Bertelli has dropped behind Lappi after losing rear-wheel drive this morning, with Jari-Matti Latvala now tenth, bumped back up into the points when Eric Camilli rolled in Wedding Bells16 1.

Camilli and co-driver Benjamin Veillas both escaped unharmed, but were unable to continue. The M-Sport #2 had been running seventh.

Rally Australia now concludes with repeat runs through the 6.20km Settles Reverse test and the 6.44km Wedding Bells16 stage, starting respectively at 12.15 hours local time [01.15 hours UK time] and 13.08 hours local time [02.08 hours UK time].

by Rob Wilkins

Related Pictures

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Andreas Mikkelsen (NOR) Anders Jaeger Synnevag (NOR) Volkswagen Polo R WRC

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