WRC Rally Australia: Rain on superspecial shakes up leading battle

Rain on Rally Australia's Coffs Harbour superspecial stage has helped Hyundai World Rally Championship driver Hayden Paddon close in on Jari-Matti Latvala for second behind leader Ott Tanak

WRC Rally Australia: Rain on superspecial shakes up leading battle

Leading Toyota contenders Tanak and Latvala went into the pair of runs through the 0.75-mile stage sitting comfortably in first and second, but a burst of rain midway through the stage changed the battle at the front of the field.

There is now 20 seconds between the pair, while Hyundai's Hayden Paddon is just 4.4s behind Latvala in a reinvigorated battle for the lower podium spots.

Tanak encountered a mixed bag in terms of conditions, his first run coming in the dry while his second was in the better of the wet running.

Latvala, meanwhile, was the least fortunate with the weather, with his two runs in the wet costing him significant time - his 10-second edge over Paddon from the forest stages was more than halved thanks to the Hyundai driver getting his first run done in the dry.

An unhappy Latvala called for the times to be disregarded.

"This is not fair," he said.

"We are waiting two hours here to drive the superspecial. Then some are in dry conditions, some are in wet.

"It's not the same race. For me, we should cancel the times. This is stupid."

Fourth-place driver Mads Ostberg dropped six seconds to Paddon and is now 20s back, with Esapekka Lappi now just 3.8s behind the Citroen driver.

There was little change for the remaining title contenders - with M-Sport Ford Fiesta driver Sebastien Ogier still 54s off the lead in sixth and Hyundai's Thierry Neuville eighth, 2m35s off Tanak.

Leading positions after SS18

Pos Driver Team Car Gap
1 Ott Tanak, M.Jarveoja Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT Toyota 2h07m52.0s
2 Jari-Matti Latvala, M.Anttila Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT Toyota 21.9s
3 Hayden Paddon, S.Marshall Hyundai Shell Mobis WRT Hyundai 26.3s
4 Mads Ostberg, T.Eriksen Citroen Total Abu Dhabi WRT Citroen 46.6s
5 Esapekka Lappi, J.Ferm Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT Toyota 50.4s
6 Sebastien Ogier, J.Ingrassia M-Sport Ford WRT Ford 1m44.8s
7 Elfyn Evans, D.Barritt M-Sport Ford WRT Ford 2m04.6s
8 Thierry Neuville, N.Gilsoul Hyundai Shell Mobis WRT Hyundai 2m35.2s
9 Teemu Suninen, M.Markkula M-Sport Ford WRT Ford 2m49.0s
10 Craig Breen, S.Martin Citroen Total Abu Dhabi WRT Citroen 6m26.8s


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Series WRC
Author Andrew van Leeuwen
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