1 day to Australia:
The final words
The closest WRC title battle since 2003 is set to reach its climax at Kennards Hire Rally Australia this weekend (15-18 November) – and the championship protagonists have spoken about their chances of success.
Sébastien Ogier, Thierry Neuville and Ott Tänak head into the New South Wales event with an opportunity to win the drivers’ crown and the trio discussed the impending three-way fight during the pre-event press conference.
M-Sport Ford World Rally Team driver Ogier is targeting a sixth crown – his second with the British team – and he’s taking confidence from his previous title successes.
“The only thing that I really have is the titles and that gives me the chance to be a little bit more relaxed,” he explained. “Of course, if I get a sixth one it will be nice, but it won’t change my life so much. It’s not like winning the first one.
“I have a small advantage for that, but the pressure is on. I don’t see anything else other than winning the title this weekend and I will give it everything I’ve got.”
Neuville trails the Frenchman by three points on the eve of the Rally Australia start and the Belgian has vowed to attack this weekend.
“I will do my job to the maximum. The last couple of rallies have been challenging and this one will be as well. We won’t give up so close to our main goal,” he said.
“In this situation it’s already something positive to know that I secured my future [at Hyundai] already. If it [the championship] won’t be this year – but hopefully it will – I know I have more chances to come again. That relaxes me a little bit.”
Toyota Gazoo Racing’s Ott Tänak is considered a title outsider as he trails Ogier by 23 points. He knows the title fight is out of his control so his focus will be on putting in a clean and fast performance.
He said: “For us it’s quite simple. We have no strategy – even if we are ahead of these two [Ogier and Neuville] it won’t change anything. The only aim is to win the rally and the Power Stage.”
Head to WRC+ to watch All Live from Kennards Hire Rally Australia, including every stage broadcast live, breaking service park news and expert studio analysis.
VIDEO: Shakedown Kennards Hire Rally Australia 2018
Shakedown Clip Rally Australia
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Tight at the top in Australia warm-up
2 days to Australia: Title fight down to the wire
Three drivers in final round shootout