The penultimate day of Coates Hire Rally Australia was taken over by Sebastien Ogier! The Frenchman went on to claim all the 6 stage wins to extend off with a clear 45.9s to his nearest rival, the Citroen‘s Mikko Hirvonen. M-Sport‘s Thierry Neuville finished the day with third overall, with over a minute of gap to the rally leader. If all goes will the French VW Polo R driver, Ogier will be crowned the championship of the season, along with his co-driver Julien Ingrassia.
Day 3, consisted of just two stages run twice, apart from the day’s ending, twice run SSS. SS11 – Nambucca I, was the first to run with a mighty 49.9 km distance separating the start and stop timers. Ogier started the day road to victory winning the stage and the next SS12 – Valla I was the next at hand with a distance of 14.84 km, and bagged it too.
After a 30 minute service, the rally returned back to re-run the morning loop, and the Frenchman out lead the rest of the field to secure a healthy gap, stage after stage.
It was a disappointing for the Britain‘s Kris Meeke when he crashed out on the second pass of the mighty SS13 – Nambucca II, when he went a little faster into a right hander corner and rolled down the hilly slope to retire for the day.
“It’s quite simple. I made a mistake by braking a little bit too late,” the Brit explains, “the car turned into the corner, but we ran wide and slipped off the road and down a steep bank into a field. We rolled several times, very slowly.”
With Meeke‘s car in hand, the Citroen service staff had a tough job in their hands once the the FIA technical staff gave a green signal, after verifying the safety parameters to let him rejoin tomorrow in Rally 2 format. And they did it well indeed.
It was the VW Motorsport team who were very happy at the end of the day, with their prospects. However it certainly left Citroen‘s boss unhappy with the situation in hand, with Meeke‘s unwanted retirement and hence the chance of making it to the top of the Manufacturer‘s title race – a tough one.
Top 10 scoreboard by the end of SS16, Day 2
|9.||10||K. AL QASSIMI||2:25:16.9||+1:12.2||+10:23.0|
So do you think, Ogier will take his throne tomorrow? Lets see!