DOMINANT OGIER WRAPS UP RALLY AUSTRALIA

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DOMINANT OGIER WRAPS UP RALLY AUSTRALIA

RA14-podium winners (Jeremy Rogers pic)COFFS COAST (NSW) – World Champion Sebastien Ogier of France swept to a dominant victory in Coates Hire Rally Australia today.

Ogier and co-driver Julien Ingrassia won 11 of the 20 Special Stages over three days of the FIA World Rally Championship 10th round run around this Mid North Coast holiday region.

After more than 313 kms of competition, Ogier finished the closing Wedding Bells II Power Stage, north of the Coffs Harbour rally base, just 6.8sec ahead of Volkswagen teammate Jari-Matti Latvala of Finland, who picked up more than three seconds and two stage wins this afternoon in a lunge for victory.

Latvala won the points-paying Power stage from Ogier and third Volkswagen driver Andreas Mikkelsen of Norway.

The Volkswagen 1-2-3 ensured the German team won its second straight WRC Manufacturers Trophy today, but the drivers’ title remains undecided.

Ogier, winner here also in 2013, led the event over 13 stages including throughout the final day but the fight was tighter than it appeared. Only Latvala and Citroen’s Kris Meeke also were able to spend time at the front and the leader’s margin was never more than 11.8sec throughout the event and as little as 0.4sec.

Australian Chris Atkinson finished 10th and almost 9m:30sec behind the winner after a challenging return to the WRC with Hyundai.

His New Zealand teammate Hayden Paddon was the top-scoring Hyundai driver, in sixth.

The 23rd Australian WRC event was attended by large crowds at the spectator stages and hailed a success by organisers, who welcomed an announcement over the weekend that the rally would return on 10-13 September next year.

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Chris Nixon

Chris Nixon is Media Manager for Kennards Hire Rally Australia.