Sunday | 13 Sep 2015

SS15: Three out of three for Ogier

Sébastien Ogier completed a hat-trick of wins through Sunday morning’s stages at Coates Hire Rally Australia to close in on a third consecutive world title.

Stage info: SS14/15

SS14: Wedding Bells 1, 9.23km
Wedding Bells is identical to 2014 and the name comes from an old gold mine, so named because a miner took his bride there for their honeymoon. It is fast but narrow and much of the grass and bushes have been cut back so vision is better. The first part is under trees, but it opens out later and the surface is primarily clay.

SS15: Settles Rd, 6.40km
This is a new stage but most of it was used in the opposite direction as the shakedown in 2013. It is extremely fast with long straights and corners and hardly a junction to mention. The surface is smooth clay which will be slippery if wet. The only stage that is used just once

Having won Bucca Long, the Volkswagen Polo R driver went fastest through the live TV Wedding Bells by 1.0sec from closest challenger Jari-Matti Latvala. He ended the loop by winning Settles Road by 1.2sec from the Finn to lead by 7.3sec with two tests remaining.

“A perfect morning, it was very clean,” smiled Ogier. “The last stage was very fast and there wasn’t much room for mistake. It was my first time through this one so there was a little bit of adrenalin.”

Latvala was realistic about the chances of catching his team-mate. “I won’t give up the fight. It’s not impossible to catch him but it’s so difficult to make up time when the cars are so equal,” he said.

Kris Meeke and Andreas Mikkelsen are now involved in a tight battle for third. Mikkelsen was faster than the Ulsterman through both stages and the gap between the two was 4.2sec as drivers returned to Coffs Harbour for mid-leg service.

Sixth-placed Ott Tänak reported a noise from the transmission of his Ford Fiesta RS at the end of Settles Road, but the Estonian had the opportunity for his M-Sport team to investigate the issue in service.

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