We are on course to claim a podium finish in Rally Australia after Hayden and Seb moved up to third on the penultimate day of the event – and of the 2018 WRC season!
Our Kiwi scored two stages wins on Saturday to keep in touch with the front-runners on familiar roads that included sections of the famous Nambucca stage, run in reverse.
“It has been nice to get back onto some of my favourite stages of the year,” said Hayden. “We set ourselves the minimum target of a podium and we’re looking in good shape for that so far. Winning the repeat of the Argents Hill stage was probably the most fun I’ve had in a rally car all year.”
It ain’t over ‘til it’s over
Saturday’s itinerary included a repeat loop of Argents Hill Reverse (13.13km), Welshs Creek Reverse (28.83km), Urunga (21.28km) and Raleigh (1.99km), followed by two runs through the Destination NSW super special.
Following their Friday woes, Thierry and Nicolas had the disadvantage of being second on the road on the second day. “We had to try and give it everything but there’s only so much you can do,” said Thierry. “Despite the slippery conditions, I really enjoyed the stages and we had a reasonable run all things considered.”
Our Belgians ended the day eighth overall, two places behind current championship leader Sébastien Ogier, with both drivers significantly down on rally leader Ott Tanak. “It’s a frustrating situation but it’s not over until it’s over,” he added.
The final countdown
Andreas and Anders re-joined under Rally 2 regulations and were regularly inside the top-four on the stages as they targeted a more representative performance.
“We’ve been able to enjoy ourselves very much,” said Andreas. “We haven’t been taking those final risks, which enable you to compete for stage wins but I’ve been happy with our pace and performance.”
Ahead of the final day of the 2018 season, our Team Principal Michel said: “We aren’t as in control of our own destiny as we would have liked to be. We have an important final day ahead of us. One thing is for certain, after such a competitively fought season, whoever takes the titles will be worthy winners.”
The final day of the 2018 WRC season offers one of the longest Sunday schedules of the year with six stages run over a competitive distance of 83.96km. A loop of three stages – Coramba (15.55km), Sapphire (19.27km) and Wedding Bells (7.16km) – will be run twice with the second run through Wedding Bells acting as the Power Stage.
Classification after Day Two
1 O. Tänak / M. Järveoja (Toyota Yaris WRC) 2:07:52.0
2 J.M Latvala / M. Anttila (Toyota Yaris WRC) +21.9
3 H. Paddon / S. Marshall (Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC) +26.3
4 M. Østberg / T. Eriksen (Citroën C3 R5) +46.2
5 E. Lappi / J. Ferm (Toyota Yaris WRC) +50.4
6 S. Ogier / J. Ingrassia (Ford Fiesta WRC) +1:44.8
7 E. Evans / D. Barritt (Ford Fiesta WRC) +2:04.6
8 T. Neuville / N. Gilsoul (Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC) 2:35.2
9 T. Suninen / M. Markkula (Ford Fiesta WRC) +2:49.0
10 C. Breen / . Martin (Citroën C3 R5) +6:26.8