Sébastien Ogier survived a lurid two-wheel incident in Thursday morning’s shakedown at Coates Hire Rally Australia before setting fastest time in the warm-up for round 10 of the FIA World Rally Championship.
Series leader Ogier, who can secure his third consecutive world title this weekend, tipped his Volkswagen Polo R high onto two wheels at the opening corner of his first pass through the 4.98km Hydes Creek test.
He reacted quickly to prevent the car rolling and then went fastest by 1.1sec in his fourth and final run.
“It was a little stunt moment on two wheels!” joked Ogier. “It was a long hairpin right and I was actually too slow going into the bend because I braked too early. I was too far on the inside and the bank lifted the car onto two wheels.
“Luckily I had the reflexes to open the steering in the other direction and put the car back on four wheels and spin it through 360 degrees. It wouldn’t have had big consequences if we had rolled because it was a slow corner, but I’m always happier when I bring the car back in perfect shape,” he added.
Team-mate Andreas Mikkelsen was second, having been fastest until Ogier’s final run, and Jari-Matti Latvala completed a 1-2-3 for Volkswagen a further half second behind.
Kris Meeke (DS 3) and Thierry Neuville (Hyundai i20) were fourth and fifth, with Dani Sordo (Hyundai i20) and Ott Tänak (Ford Fiesta RS) tied in sixth.
Earlier in the week Tänak was one of four drivers to receive surfing tuition from multiple Australian Ironwoman champion Courtney Hancock. The Estonian returned the favour by strapping Hancock (below) into his co-driver’s seat for a high-speed run through shakedown.
Ogier photograph by @World / Aaron Beard
|1.||Sébastien Ogier||Volkswagen Polo R||2min 49.4sec|
|2.||Andreas Mikkelsen||Volkswagen Polo R||2min 50.5sec|
|3.||Jari-Matti Latvala||Volkswagen Polo R||2min 51.0sec|
|4.||Kris Meeke||DS 3||2min 51.5sec|
|5.||Thierry Neuville||Hyundai i20||2min 51.6sec|
|6=||Dani Sordo||Hyundai i20||2min 51.9sec|
|6=||Ott Tänak||Ford Fiesta RS||2min 51.9sec|
|8.||Hayden Paddon||Hyundai i20||2min 52.0sec|
|9.||Elfyn Evans||Ford Fiesta RS||2min 52.1sec|
|10.||Stéphane Lefebvre||DS 3||2min 53.4sec|
Recce notes: Coates Hire Rally Australia
Our view of the 'wild by nature' route
Third world title beckons for Ogier
Frenchman bids to secure third drivers’ title