Thursday | 11 Sep 2014

News in brief: Ogier / Barcelona / Mikko / Atko

A selection of stories that are making the news at Coates Hire Rally Australia

Ogier back on track: Championship leader Sébastien Ogier has refocused after the double crash that sidelined him from last month’s ADAC Rallye Deutschland. After his retirement the Frenchman said he lacked motivation and had other things on his mind apart from driving. But ahead of the start ceremony in Coffs Harbour, the Volkswagen man pledged to be back on form this weekend. “I was not so strong this summer. I let myself be disturbed by other things in [the] sport and this definitely made me weaker. I was not focused enough on what I have to do, but I made work on it and I left it behind me. I am concentrated on what is now and you can count on me to be back 100 per cent here,” he said.

Barcelona opener: A street stage in Barcelona will open RallyRACC Rally de España (23 - 26 October). After a Thursday afternoon start from the rally base in Salou, competitors will drive into Barcelona for an early evening 3.20km asphalt test. Details of the new stage will be revealed during a press conference next week.

Hirvonen toys with speculation: Mikko Hirvonen’s plans for 2015 remain unclear after the Finn today refused to deny speculation that he will retire at the end of this season. Addressing journalists at the pre-event press conference, the 34-year-old said: “It’s funny how the press picks up on these things because last December I didn’t have anything [for this season] and nobody was talking about me retiring. Now we’re still in the summer and there’s talk that I am! We will see. I know personally what I want, and if I can get that next year it will be awesome. If not, I’ll have to wait.” Asked what he wanted, Hirvonen replied: “I think you guys are keen on speculating so I’ll leave it to you. It’s more fun like this.”

Atkinson ready to pull his finger out: Chris Atkinson believes a good result on his home round of the WRC this weekend could lead to a full time return in 2015. Australia will be the second Hyundai outing this year for the former Subaru team driver, who described himself as a ‘semi-part timer.’ Asked about his plans for next season Atko said: “I’d love to be a full time again, but I guess a lot depends on this weekend and doing a good job - so I’ve got to pull my finger out.”

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