Thursday | 17 Nov 2016

Ogier fastest in Australia warm-up

World champion Sébastien Ogier headed a Volkswagen Motorsport 1-2 in Thursday morning’s shakedown at Kennards Hire Rally Australia.

He set the fastest time in his third and final run through the 5.02km Boyds Road speed test, edging Polo R team-mate Andreas Mikkelsen by a tenth of a second.

Jari-Matti Latvala set the pace through the opening run in his Polo R, before Thierry Neuville powered his Hyundai i20 to the top of the standings after the second pass. Both were later overhauled by Ott Tänak, who finished third in a Ford Fiesta RS.

Ogier was first into the stage and had a taste of things to come when he opens the roads for the first two legs on Friday and Saturday. The loose gravel was deep and the Frenchman’s quickest time was more than 11sec faster than his opening effort on unused roads.

“It’s such an incredible cleaning effect we have seen this morning,” he said. “By our calculations it is between 0.2sec - 0.3sec per car per kilometre faster. It’s always difficult here but during the recce a lot of people said it was even worse than previous years. I didn’t expect so much.”

Even Monday night’s massive rainstorm in the host town of Coffs Harbour offered no respite for the early starters.

“When we started the recce on Tuesday morning I never saw any marks of humidity anywhere. It is completely dry and dusty,” Ogier added.

Neuville and team-mate Paddon tied in fourth with Latvala completing the top six, a tenth of a second behind the Hyundai duo.

Leading shakedown times

1OgierVW Polo R3m01.5s
2MikkelsenVW Polo R3m01.6s
3TanakFord Fiesta RS3m02.3s
=4NeuvilleHyundai i20 WRC3m02.5s
=4PaddonHyundai i20 WRC3m02.5s
6LatvalaVW Polo R3m02.6s
7Camilli Ford Fiesta RS3m03.3s
8OstbergFord Fiesta RS3m03.5s
9Sordo Hyundai i20 WRC3m04.2s
10BertelliFord Fiesta RS3m10.5s


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