Latvala storms into Rally Aus lead after SS10

Jari-Matti Latvala

Jari-Matti Latvala

Jari-Matti Latvala became the third different leader of Coates Hire Rally Australia after conquering the morning run through Nambucca and Valla stages.

The Volkswagen driver eclipsed his world champion team-mate and overnight rally leader Sebastien Ogier to open up a 4.1s lead with his third and fourth stage victories of the event.

“I felt comfortable,” said Latvala.

“I found a rhythm in there and the time came to me. In places the roads reminded me of my home in Finland.”

Andreas Mikkelsen ensured Volkswagen continue to hold the top three positions despite briefly losing the spot to Citroen’s Kris Meeke after the taxing 48.92km Nambucca stage. The Norwegian is just 16.1s behind leader Latvala.

Rain during the night presented the drivers with a slightly damp surface for the Nambucca stage, but it didn’t halt Latvala’s charge with the Finn winning the stage by 2.6 second from Ogier.

The time was enough to eclipse Ogier’s 0.4s advantage heading into Leg 2. Meeke was third just 0.7 s quicker than Mikkelsen to grab third spot.

Latvala’s charge continued when the field headed into the short 8km Valla stage. The VW man was 1.5s quicker than Ogier with Mikkelsen third and Meeke fourth with the latter escaping a brief off towards the end.

The M-Sport Ford Fiesta of Mikko Hirvonen continues to hold fifth overall just 36.4s adrift of leader Latvala.

New Zealand’s Hayden Paddon remains in sixth after two solid runs through Nambucca and Valla. He remains the top Hyundai entrant but is well adrift of Hirvonen.

Citroen’s Mads Ostberg, Robert Kubica, Elfyn Evans and Thierry Neuville completed the top 10.

Meanwhile, Australia’s Chris Atkinson is in 12th spot but the Hyundai man revealed his confidence is growing behind the wheel of the i20.

Coates Hire Rally Australia Results after SS10

Position Driver Team Time Gap
1 Jari-Matti Latvala Volkswagen 1:29:31.5s
2 Sebastien Ogier Volkswagen 1:29:35.6s +4.1s
3 Andreas Mikkelsen Volkswagen 1:29:47.6s +16.1s
4 Kris Meeke Citroen 1:29:48.4s +16.9s
5 Mikko Hirvonen M-Sport Ford 1:30:07.9s +36.4s
6 Hayden Paddon Hyundai 1:30:57.2s +1:25.7s
7 Mads Ostberg Citroen 1:31:00.9s +1:29.4s
8 Robert Kubica M-Sport Ford 1:31:47.9s +2:16.4s
9 Elfyn Evans M-Sport Ford 1:32:19.7s +2:48.2s
10 Thierry Neuville Hyundai 1:34:46.4s +3:15.4s
11 Yazeed Al Rajhi Yazeed Racing Ford 1:34:27.4s +4:55.9s
12 Chris Atkinson Hyundai 1:34:30.6s +4:59.1s

 

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