A round-up of the stories that are making the news in the WRC today:
- The stars of the WRC stopped off in Sydney for the ultimate tourist treat en route to Coffs Harbour for this week’s Rally Australia. Six drivers showed their head for heights by climbing the 134 metres to the peak of the city’s famous Harbour Bridge.
Championship leader Sebastien Ogier, his Volkswagen team-mate Jari-Matti Latvala, Citroen duo Mikko Hirvonen and Kris Meeke and M-Sport pair Thierry Neuville and Evgeny Novikov made the trek to the top of the bridge, which joins the north and south sides of Sydney, enjoying the view from the Harbour out to the Pacific Ocean and the Opera House.
- Kiwi Hayden Paddon warmed up for Rally Australia by moving into the lead of the New Zealand Rally Championship at the weekend. Despite damaging his Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9 after a heavy landing in the opening stage of the Possum Bourne Memorial Rally, Paddon finished fourth to open a five point lead.
Paddon, who will drive a Skoda Fabia S2000 in Australia, struggled after the landing smashed the rear sump frame and differential, bent the rear suspension arms and damaged the gearbox, sub-frame and floor.
- Australia’s Nathan Quinn tested his Mini John Cooper Works for the first time yesterday afternoon ahead of his World Rally Car debut at Rally Australia. Quinn, who lives in the rally’s Coffs Harbour base, covered 40km in the Motorsport Italia-run car and was partnered for the first time by experienced co-driver Glenn MacNeall.
“I drove perhaps the 40 most valuable kilometres I’ve ever done in a rally car,” said Quinn. “There aren’t any words to describe the feeling. It was unreal. I’ll reflect tonight and really savour the moment – it was pretty special! At the start, I was driving more aggressively, then as I got to know the Mini, I became more comfortable and in control, which meant I was able to relax more. By the end of my runs we’d found a good set-up.”