Ogier leads Australia thriller
Leading trio split by 2.6 seconds
His 50.3sec overnight advantage was slashed by Yurii Protasov during the two morning stages on gravel roads in New South Wales. Transmission problems which left his Ford Fiesta RRC with rear-wheel drive only and an intermittent misfire allowed the Ukraine driver to close to within 10.3sec.
But with his car restored to full health, Al-Attiyah won both afternoon stages to eke out his lead to 14.2sec and boost the championship leader’s hopes of claiming maximum points at tomorrow’s finish.
Protasov’s only concern came this morning when his Fiesta RRC almost collided with several cows which had wandered onto the road.
Abdulaziz Al-Kuwari was third, 1min 26.2sec off the lead, but Yazeed Al Rajhi retired from fourth after crashing heavily in the afternoon’s opening test. The Saudi Arabian driver won both morning stages but will not restart tomorrow.
Nathan Quinn was fourth in a Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X, and headed the Production Cup class within WRC 2, ahead of Gianluca Linari.
Scott Pedder rounded off the top six, despite losing more than 10 minutes when he beached his car in the opening stage. Brake problems and a final stage spin cost the Australian more time.