Ogier's close call in Australia shakedown
Championship leader escapes near-roll
Mikkelsen's gravel warning. Andreas Mikkelsen believes this week's gravel-covered stages will be as slippery as those at Rally Italia Sardegna. The Norwegian said Friday and Saturday's tests were particularly slippery and feels there will be a big advantage to drivers starting further back in the running order. "If we were able to choose our start position then I would have chosen as low down the running order as possible," he said. "It's going to be really tricky being early in the start list."
Ogier's title calm. With a third FIA drivers' trophy almost in the bag, Sébastien Ogier has denied feeling any extra pressure this week. "I think everyone would like to be in my position," he said. "It's getting very close to another title so I'm very happy with that. There's no reason to feel any extra pressure. I'm completely relaxed and will try my best. We've won here twice before and hopefully it will be the same again. I'll fight for it, that's for sure." If he was to win in Australia, Ogier can look forward to a stress-free run on the three rounds that remain. "A third title would make me a really happy man. It would also mean a very relaxed end of the year, without thinking about the championship," he said.
Pedder's 2016 ambition. Australian WRC 2 driver Scott Pedder hopes to return for a second season in 2016. The 39-year-old will drive a Ford Fiesta R5 this weekend and is aiming to build on the experience next year. "To go and do WRC for just one season is a bit of a waste because experience counts for so much," he said. "We're going up against drivers that have done stages 10 or 20 times before, so to go back to somewhere like Finland for a second time we should be quicker. At the minimum I hope to do Finland and Australia again in an R5 car. We'll know more in the next month." Pedder was fourth-quickest WRC 2 driver on Thursday's shakedown test and was happy enough with his car to take his mum Lynne for a spin too.
The competitive action at Coates Hire Rally Australia begins on Friday 11 September. The first stage, Utungun, gets underway at 0818hrs local time (GMT+10).