WRC Australia: Ogier leads Volkswagen shakedown sweep

World Rally Championship leader Sebastien Ogier set fastest time of Rally Australia's shakedown, despite coming within inches of rolling his Volkswagen Polo R WRC at the first corner

WRC Australia: Ogier leads Volkswagen shakedown sweep

The Frenchman topped the timesheets for the final practice ahead of the Coffs Harbour-based event.

Ogier was 1.1 seconds ahead of his team-mate Andreas Mikkelsen, as Jari-Matti Latvala made it a Volkswagen clean sweep, 0.5s down on his Norwegian colleague.

But it was Ogier's moment in the first hairpin right that had everybody talking down under, and the man himself admitted he hadn't been far from disaster.

"It was the very first corner of the morning," Ogier told AUTOSPORT

"I was actually a bit too slow - I braked too early for this hairpin and turned in.

"There was a bank on the inside of the corner and this lifted my car up on two wheels.

"Luckily, I had the reflex to open the wheels a little bit soon enough to put the car down. We did a 360 spin and carried on.

"It would not have been a big consequence [if we rolled], the speed was quite slow, but it would have made some damage and I prefer to bring the car back to service like this."

Ogier's own calculations say he needs third place finish plus a powerstage victory to take a third title in Australia, but he says he's focused on both taking the championship and completing a Rally Australia hat-trick.

"It's true we could accept third place plus powerstage, but that's not my plan," he said.

"If that is the result, I will be happy, of course - the title is the target and, for sure, I would have a smile on my face.

"But, you know me, I always want to win!"

Kris Meeke was the best non-Volkswagen driver in fourth place, with his new team-mate Stephane Lefebvre - standing in for Mads Ostberg - enjoying his first mileage on gravel with 10th fastest time in the sister DS 3 WRC.

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