WRC: Ogier, Paddon make errors on final morning

2016-11-20 01:02:31

Andreas Mikkelsen is on course to clinch victory on Volkswagen's World Rally Championship farewell after mistakes from teammate Sebastien Ogier and Hayden Paddon on Rally Australia's final morning.

Mikkelsen held a two-second advantage over Ogier after two days of running down under, with Hyundai driver Paddon also in the lead fight in third.

After Mikkelsen edged his lead out to 2.6s on Sunday morning's opening stage, Ogier and Paddon then gifted the Norwegian the advantage with errors on the near-20-mile Bucca SS20. Mikkelsen consolidated his advantage with the quickest time on SS21, which will double as the rally-ending powerstage, to lead by more than 20 seconds with just two 3.7-mile stages remaining.

Ogier reckoned his spin cost him around 15 seconds and the four-time world champion is still firmly on course to finish second, but Paddon's mistake has cost him a podium. The New Zealander now runs fifth after running wide and hitting a bank, which pushed the left-rear tire off the rim and cost him almost a minute. It dropped him behind Hyundai teammates Thierry Neuville and Dani Sordo and while Sordo is within reach less than a second clear, Neuville is 14 seconds further ahead.

Eric Camilli rolled out of seventh on the final stage. The mistake from the M-Sport driver, whose Ford Fiesta ended up on its side, coupled with Lorenzo Bertelli suffering a driveshaft failure, means runaway WRC2 leader Esapekka Lappi is set to secure the class title with a top-eight finish on the rally.



Originally on Autosport.com

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