Wednesday | 02 Sep 2015

Australia countdown: driver line-up

As Coffs Harbour gears up to host Coates Hire Rally Australia (10 - 13 September) for the fourth time, begins its countdown to round 10 of the FIA World Rally Championship with a look at the entry list.

The biggest talking point is Hyundai’s decision to rotate the driver line-up of its two teams in a bid to strengthen its grip on second place in the manufacturers’ championship.

Team leader Thierry Neuville heads the primary Hyundai Motorsport squad but Hayden Paddon is promoted to partner the Belgian in an i20 World Rally Car. The Kiwi’s step-up means Dani Sordo drops to the Hyundai Motorsport N team.

Paddon’s impressive mid-season pace on gravel, which netted a career-best second in Italy, earned him the nod over Spaniard Sordo who took just a single point from the three most recent loose surface rounds in Italy, Poland and Finland.

Volkswagen (Sébastien Ogier, Jari-Matti Latvala and Andreas Mikkelsen), Citroën (Kris Meeke and Mads Østberg) and M-Sport (Elfyn Evans and Ott Tänak) are at full strength, and Lorenzo Bertelli returns after missing the previous round in Germany with food poisoning.

Absent are Robert Kubica and Martin Prokop, who both made the decision to miss the long journey from Europe earlier in the campaign. Kubica will use the time to test his Ford Fiesta RS on asphalt ahead of the next two rounds in Corsica and Spain.

Points leader Nasser Al-Attiyah heads the entries in WRC 2, the Qatari back in a Ford Fiesta RRC after driving a Skoda Fabia R5 in Germany. Other top entrants include Yurii Protasov, Abdulaziz Al-Kuwari and local hero Scott Pedder.

The rally is also a round of the Australian Championship with double champion Eli Evans, Molly Taylor and Adrian Coppin continuing their pursuit of the title.

  • Stay-tuned with as we continue our build-up to Coates Hire Rally Australia over the next week with our look back at the 2014 event, an in-depth look at the route, news from the top teams and views from the leading drivers ahead of the start.

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