Latvala in front in Australia
Finn charges into last stage lead
The Qatari won seven of the eight gravel special stages in New South Wales in a Ford Fiesta RRC to lead Yurii Protasov by 50.3sec in this 10th round of the series.
“We’ve done a good job so far and I’m happy with the pace. We have a good lead and I hope to win this rally, it’s very important for my championship chances,” said Al-Attiyah.
Protasov was outside the top three initially as he struggled to come to terms with his pace notes. However, the Ukrainian leaped into second in SS4 and felt more confident during the afternoon after improving his Fiesta RRC’s suspension at service.
He finished 30.5sec ahead of Abdulaziz Al-Kuwari with Yazeed Al Rajhi in fourth. Al Rajhi denied Al-Attiyah a clean sweep of stage wins by going fastest in SS2, but a right rear puncture two stages later cost two minutes.
Nathan Quinn headed the Production Car class within WRC 2 by almost nine minutes from Gianluca Linari, who dropped time after going off the road and damaging his Subaru Impreza’s suspension.
The only retirement was local hero Scott Pedder, who retired in SS2 after ripping the front right wheel from his Fiesta R5.