Ogier enhances lead after Coffs Super Specials

Sebastien Ogier squeezes out an 11.8s lead following the super special runs

Sebastien Ogier squeezes out an 11.8s lead following the super special runs

Sebastien Ogier is on the cusp of consecutive wins in Coates Hire Rally Australia after maintaining his edge over the two Hyundai Super Special stages at Coffs Harbour.

The reigning WRC champion capitalised on a fascinating nip and tuck rally by emerging from SS14 with an 11.8s lead over his Volkswagen team-mate Jari-Matti Latvala.

The French ace had gone into SS13 and 14 with a 10.3s advantage.

After a day when tyre choice played a crucial role in the outcome, Ogier returned to control in a rally which has seen the lead change five times from three different drivers.

Ogier remains cautious about his prospects over the remaining six stages tomorrow with Latvala an ever-present danger.

“It was a very, very muddy stage and I had to be careful. The difference is not much so we will have to carry on,” Ogier said.

“It was very tricky and slippery. Not an easy stage to end the day with.”

Ogier and co-driver Julien Ingrassia have taken the Armor All Shootout for the crew with the fastest aggregate time over the four runs at the 1.56km Hyundai Super Special Stage to become the proud owners of surfboards designed and shaped by Pokerface.

Latvala finished a taxing day when he made a costly decision to sway toward soft tyres on the afternoon return loop of the Nambucca and Valla forest stages which allowed Ogier to edge to a gap.

“I won’t to go to sleep now and forget out today and see what we can do tomorrow,” Latvala said.

Volkswagen are gunning for a trifecta in what would be a stunning recovery from the German rally last month when Ogier and Latvala crashed out.

The third VW Polo driver Andreas Mikkelsen snatched back third place overall from Kris Meeke following the night time runs under floodlights.

Robert Kubica had to endure his second run through the Hyundai Super Special stage with a left rear punctured tyre, ending a day where he made a mistake which caused significant damage to the left-rear of his M-Sport prepared Fiesta.

Kubica said: “We managed to finish the day. It was a stupid mistake. Apart from that it was a very good day for us.”

The final day will see repeat runs of Shipmans, Bucca and Wedding Bells with the former cut by 5km to 25km.

Officials were forced to bring out the red flag when Finn Jari Ketomaa put his Fiesta R5 on its side in his first run through the super special.

“I cut the corner too much, hit a post and flipped the car over,” Ketomaa said.

See below for overall positions after day 2

Position

Driver

Team

Time

Gap

1

Sebastien Ogier

Volkswagen

2:03:55.3

2

Jari-Matti Latvala

Volkswagen

2:04:07.1

+11.8s

3

Kris Meeke

Citroen

2:04:20.6

25.3

4

Andreas Mikkelsen

Volkswagen

2:04:22.1

26.8

5

Mikko Hirvonen

M-Sport Ford

2:05:22.5

1:27.2

6

Mads Ostberg

Citroen

 2:06:03.5

2:08.2

7

Hayden Paddon

Hyundai

2:06:10.8

2:15.5

8

Thierry Neuville

Hyundai

2:07:47.7

3:52.4

9

Elfyn Evans

M-Sport Ford

2:07:54.3

3:59.0

10

Robert Kubica

M-Sport Ford

2:08:54.5

4:59.2

11

Chris Atkinson

Hyundai

 2:11:01.4

7:06.1

Join the discussion below in the Speedcafe.com comments section

Please note: Speedcafe.com reserves the right to remove any comment that does not follow the comment policy. For support, contact [email protected]