Ogier tops shakedown for Rally Australia

Sebastien Ogier managed to avoid a soft roll early in the shakedown for Coates Hire Rally Australia

Sebastien Ogier managed to avoid a soft roll early in the shakedown for Coates Hire Rally Australia. pic: Dallas Dogger

Sebastien Ogier set the fastest time in the shakedown ahead of Coates Hire Rally Australia’s competitive special stages at Coffs Harbour.

Ogier survived an early moment when he miraculously avoided rolling on his first sweep of the 4.98km shakedown route.

The French ace rode both left-hand wheels, maintaining control around a hairpin bend before the Volkswagen righted itself.

Ogier made several more sweeps of the stage before ultimately finishing 1.1s ahead of his VW team-mate Andreas Mikkelsen with Jari-Matti Latvala third fastest as the Polos took charge.

“Shakedown was good, although we had a little stunt moment on the first corner, on two wheels,” Ogier said.

“Actually like a hairpin, very slow but could have been a roll.

“Luckily the reflexes cut in to open steering in the other direction, like a spin, but after that, I am happy with everything.”

Northern Ireland’s Kris Meeke was fourth fastest in the factory Citroen ahead of Hyundai spearhead Thierry Neuville.

Dani Sordo (Hyundai) and M-Sport Ford driver Ott Tanak shared the same time, ahead of Kiwi Hayden Paddon with Elfyn Evans ninth while Stephane Lefebvre was 10th as he comes to grips with the Citroen DS 3 following his 11th hour call-up to replace the injured Mads Ostberg.

Competitive stages begin tomorrow with a return loop of four stages which includes new routes around the Taylors Arm region.

Top 10 shakedown times

POSITION DRIVER CAR TIME
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

VIDEO: Shakedown Highlights

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