It is Thierry Neuville vs Ott Tanak for Driver’s Runnerup, WRC 2017 at Rally Australia. With the final event of the season, the battle for the second position has intensified at the rally down-under. Even with the season’s drivers title been secured by the Frenchman for the 5th time in succession, the fight for the remaining top positions seems more obvious, which makes the event alive for the weekend.
“I will try to end the season with the best possible result. We are aiming for a victory. If I see that there’s a possibility to win the rally, I will push hard and if it’s necessary to take risks, I will take them.”
Having said that it is not easy as Tanak is not the only one who is aiming for a victory, but the last year’s winner Andreas Mikkelsen wants to repeat his success. And we are sure Sebastien Ogier is not going to sit loose for a victory, that could become a feather on his already secured crown. The event being Hayden Paddon‘s second home is another contender with a lot of familiarisation of the roads around Coffs Harbour, from this previous rally experiences is certainly to be watched for this weekend.
Kalle Rovanpera surely wants some piece of the shiny metal and has returned for a second successive time this season in WRC2 spec Fiesta R5, after the disappointing retirement in his debut at Wales Rally GB. Dani Sordo & Juho Haninen are the only two drivers who are left out from the regular entries, with the Finn’s retirement had been announced with Wales Rally being his last. Jari-Matti Latvala is another high potential driver, although his success in the Yaris WRC has not been very consistent so far.
Coming to manufacturers/teams, Citroen Racing are confident to win the final round with Kris Meeke at the wheel of C3 WRC, while M-Sport atleast wants to finish the season with another podium finish, for a record consecutive finishes on the steps on every event of the season.
“The season is not over yet. We might have secured all three championships, but we want to end what has been an immensely successful year on another high and secure another podium to complete our clean sweep,” explains Malcom Wilson.
With shakedown done and dusted earlier today, the stages are set for Friday’s test,
- Pilbara (9.7 km),
- Eastbank (19.0 km),
- Sherwood (26.6 km)
which are repeated in the afternoon, and the day ends with a short 1.2km spectator specials twice to end the day.