(Event release, 13/9/2013) VOLKSWAGEN’S Sébastien Ogier heads into the second day of Coates Hire Rally Australia, just under half a minute ahead of the field after dominating the first day of this round of the FIA World Rally Championship.
The Frenchman could wrap up his first WRC title during competition on the NSW Coffs Coast this weekend. Posting fastest stage times on seven of yesterday’s eight stages made his intentions clear.
Citroën’s Mikko Hirvonen is not in contention for the 2013 title, but having won Rally Australia three times in the past (2006, 2009, 2011), he is keen to add another victory to his tally.
He’s currently 20 seconds behind Ogier while Ford’s Thierry Neuville, who is 75 points behind the Volkswagen star in the drivers’ championship chase, is a further 18 seconds back.
After last night’s two runs over the ARMOR ALL Super Special Stage in the heart of Coffs Harbour, Citroën recruit Kris Meeke is in fourth place while Ogier’s teammate Jari-Matti Latvala rounds out the top five, 58.2 seconds behind his Volkswagen colleague.
Local Coffs Coast driver Nathan Quinn is driving the only WRC-specification MINI in the event. It’s his first ever run in a WRC car and with the support of the Motorsport Italia he goes into Day Two in ninth place outright after a measured drive on the first leg.
Saturday sees the crews in the forest for four stages including two runs over the longest section of the whole event – the 49.90km Nambucca stage.
The day will end with the final two runs over the spectator-friendly ARMOR ALL Super Special Stage. The rally finishes in Coffs Harbour on Sunday afternoon.