Ogier back in charge at Coates Hire Rally Australia
IT MAY just be the turning point that decides the 2014 WRC driver's championship and Sebastien Ogier's defence of his Coates Hire Rally Australia title.
Chasing his Volkswagen teammate and fellow WRC title contender Jari-Matti Latvala, Ogier powered ahead in Rally Australia on the second pass of the 48.92km Nambucca stage on Saturday afternoon.
Crucial to his impressive time was tyre choice as Latvala lost a 4.1 second buffer on the field.
Weather forecasts suggested rain was likely, prompting Latvala to opt for two hard compound Michelin tyres on the front of his Polo R and two softs on the rear.
But the roads were dry and Ogier's option of three hard and one soft tyre proved more matched to the conditions.
"It wasn't a perfect choice but better than Jari-Matti, I guess," Ogier told WRC.com.
"The best would have been four hard tyres. We had a clean stage and avoided the small mistakes we made earlier."
Latvala admitted his mistake.
"According to our information there was an expectation of rain showers. But they never came and the road was 100% dry so the rears overheated. Towards the end it was better but at the beginning the road was too dry for the soft compound," he said.
UPDATE: Ogier was one second faster than Latvala on the Valla stage to close the day's action holding a 10.3 second lead over his teammate ahead of tonight's super special stage.
For full standings click here wrc.com