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(Event Release, 12/09/2013)  FRENCHMAN Sébastien Ogier has made his intentions clear on the qualifying stage for the FIA World Rally Championship round on the NSW Coffs Coast.

The Volkswagen Motorsport driver was second fastest on the short qualifying stage for Coates Hire Rally Australia, the crucial tenth round,which could see him lock up the 2013 title.

Ogier was just pipped for qualifying honours on a dusty 5.5km stage this morning by Citroën’s Kris Meeke, who is not in the running for the drivers world championship. Meeke is replacing Citroën regular Dani Sordo in Australia.

Ogier, who has won five of the season’s nine rounds so far for the new Volkswagen Motorsport team, leads the standings by 75 points from Ford driver Thierry Neuville of Belgium. Neuville was third fastest on this morning’s stage, which finished with less than a second separating the fastest four.

To secure the title this weekend, Ogier must pick up nine points more than Neuville and one more than Volkswagen teammate Jari-Matti Latvala, who is currently third.

Should Ogier win both the rally and the closing Power Stage on Sunday, Neuville would have to finish second in both competitions to prolong the outcome of the drivers’ championship.

Neuville was third fastest in his Ford Fiesta RS WRC. Australia Nathan Quinn – in a one off Motorsport Italia MINI Countryman John Cooper Works WRC finished 10th.

This afternoon drivers were attending a packed Coates Hire rally show and ceremonial start in the centre of Coffs Harbour where they were scheduled to select their starting positions for the event based on the qualifying results.

The rally begins at 6.30pm tonight with the first of two ARMOR ALL Super Special Stages at the Brelsford Park Rally Hub.

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Dallas Dogger

Dallas Dogger is one of the team of commentators for Kennards Hire Rally Australia.