WRC Rally Australia: Ostberg leads, Neuville title bid hits trouble

Mads Ostberg continues to lead the World Rally Championship's Rally Australia after Friday's afternoon loop, while a puncture has damaged Thierry Neuville's title hopes

WRC Rally Australia: Ostberg leads, Neuville title bid hits trouble

Citroen driver Ostberg continued to benefit from running last in the order, emerging from the repeat of this morning's stages with a 6.2 seconds lead over Toyota's Jari-Matti Latvala and team-mate Craig Breen, who topped the final forest stage of the day.

In contrast to Ostberg, Neuville has his work cut out now he is set to sweep the road on Saturday after ending the loop well over a minute off the pace thanks to dramas in SS6.

The loop started out as a see-sawing battle between Ogier and Neuville for ninth overall - the pair split by 6.5s - as the M-Sport driver using a slightly softer tyre mix to pull a second back on his Hyundai rival on the first stage.

Neuville then hit back on the Coldwater stage by going 1.6s faster than Ogier and moving into seventh.

But the final test proved costly for Neuville as he lost 21s when he ran into a chicane, before finishing the stage with a left-rear puncture and significant bodywork damage after an awkward landing from a jump.

As a result he was 40s slower than Ogier on the stage, and will suffer in terms of road order on Saturday thanks to sitting 10th in the overall standings with a 1m12s deficit to Ostberg.

Ogier finished the loop seventh after M-Sport team-mates Elfyn Evans and Teemu Suninen both slowed at the end of SS6 to drop behind the Frenchman in a bid to improve his Saturday running order position, having swept the road all day on Friday.

"I push like crazy, this was worse than this morning," said Ogier. "I was on the limit, including on the jump."

As in the morning loop, Ott Tanak was the best of the title contenders, despite dealing with a significantly damaged Yaris.

Tanak's afternoon started in promising fashion as the championship outsider topped the second pass through Orara East despite clipping a fence post with the rear of his car early on the test.

The Yaris was then left without a front bar after Tanak hit the water splash in SS5 too hard, leaving the car "running like a dog" for the 16-mile Sherwood pass.

But he was still quicker than Ogier through the stage, and currently sits fifth overall, behind Hayden Paddon.

Toyota team-mate Esapekka Lappi had dramas at the same creek as Tanak, his Yaris rolling to a stop after its engine ingested a significant amount of water.

He managed to get going again, but dropped 22s on the stage and fell from second in the overall standings to sixth.

Leading positions after SS6

Pos Driver Team Car Gap
1 Mads Ostberg, T.Eriksen Citroen Total Abu Dhabi WRT Citroen 50m47.3s
2 Jari-Matti Latvala, M.Anttila Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT Toyota 6.2s
3 Craig Breen, S.Martin Citroen Total Abu Dhabi WRT Citroen 7.5s
4 Hayden Paddon, S.Marshall Hyundai Shell Mobis WRT Hyundai 9.7s
5 Ott Tanak, M.Jarveoja Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT Toyota 19.9s
6 Esapekka Lappi, J.Ferm Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT Toyota 29.0s
7 Sebastien Ogier, J.Ingrassia M-Sport Ford WRT Ford 41.7s
8 Teemu Suninen, M.Markkula M-Sport Ford WRT Ford 45.2s
9 Elfyn Evans, D.Barritt M-Sport Ford WRT Ford 45.4s
10 Thierry Neuville, N.Gilsoul Hyundai Shell Mobis WRT Hyundai 1m12.8s

shares
comments
WRC Rally Australia: Tractor on stage influenced Mikkelsen crash
Previous article

WRC Rally Australia: Tractor on stage influenced Mikkelsen crash

Next article

Andreas Mikkelsen angered by WRC Rally Australia tractor incident

Andreas Mikkelsen angered by WRC Rally Australia tractor incident
How Rovanpera has reignited Finland's rallying obsession Plus

How Rovanpera has reignited Finland's rallying obsession

Finland may have a small population, but it has long enjoyed rallying success. Now that the nation has a new star to cheer in the form of Kalle Rovanpera, interest in the discipline is surging once again

WRC
7 h
How Tanak spoiled Rovanpera’s Finnish homecoming Plus

How Tanak spoiled Rovanpera’s Finnish homecoming

Kalle Rovanpera and Toyota went into Rally Finland as overwhelming favourites but came away as runners-up to a resurgent Ott Tanak and Hyundai. While it may have dampened the homecoming party, it still moved the Finn closer to the ultimate World Rally Championship prize

WRC
Aug 8, 2022
Inside Hyundai’s F1-spec mobile WRC home Plus

Inside Hyundai’s F1-spec mobile WRC home

Hyundai is one of the World Rally Championship's big three, and has a brand-new travelling facility befitting of that status. The team invited Autosport for a behind-the-scenes look at its state-of-the-art HQ, which comes complete with all the bells and whistles you'd expect of a top Formula 1 outfit

WRC
Jul 27, 2022
How Rovanpera's latest Estonia masterclass left his WRC rivals stumped Plus

How Rovanpera's latest Estonia masterclass left his WRC rivals stumped

After trailing Toyota team-mate Elfyn Evans for much of Rally Estonia's opening day, WRC points leader Kalle Rovanpera took advantage of a change in the weather and never looked back afterwards. Winning for a fifth time this year at the scene of his 2021 breakthrough, and with a breathtaking powerstage bonus for good measure, his advantage is already looking difficult to topple

WRC
Jul 18, 2022
How the WRC captures its stunning visuals Plus

How the WRC captures its stunning visuals

Whether it’s the mountains of Monte Carlo, the snow of Sweden or the Kenya Savannah, the World Rally Championship is able to beam some of motorsport’s most spectacular footage to television screens while operating in the harshest of environments. Autosport went behind the scenes to unearth the secrets that make this logistical challenge possible

WRC
Jul 7, 2022
Why WRC's Safari tour is more than just a rally Plus

Why WRC's Safari tour is more than just a rally

OPINION: A source of national pride in Kenya, the Safari Rally is also a sporting, cultural and economic phenomenon. And as last weekend's World Rally Championship round reminded us, it's a key driver in establishing Africa’s place in world motorsport

WRC
Jun 29, 2022
How Rovanpera tamed a wild Safari Rally Plus

How Rovanpera tamed a wild Safari Rally

The Safari Rally acted as a brutal test of driver and car resolve as multiple retirements opened the path for a historic Toyota 1-2-3-4 triumph, headed by star Kalle Rovanpera. But keeping things clean was only half of the challenge, as a well-timed charge when conditions worsened allowed the Finn to take control

WRC
Jun 27, 2022
How Tanak turned the tables to deliver Hyundai a timely WRC triumph Plus

How Tanak turned the tables to deliver Hyundai a timely WRC triumph

The 2019 champion has been a bit-part player recently, but Ott Tanak ended a 15-month drought in fine style with a dominant win in Sardinia. On a weekend when championship leader Kalle Rovanpera struggled with cleaning the road, his Hyundai rival has made his belated arrival into the title race and given cause for those predicting a walkover from the Toyota star to pause

WRC
Jun 6, 2022