Australia WRC: Mikkelsen leads after opening loop

Andreas Mikkelsen has an early lead in Coffs Harbour after dominating the first morning of running at Rally Australia.

The Volkswagen driver and co-driver Anders Jaeger Synnevaag took full advantage of running third on the road, winning four of the first five stages to streak out to a 13.7s lead over Hyundai pairing Dani Sordo and Hayden Paddon.

World Champion Sebastien Ogier, meanwhile, currently sits fourth, 20s off the lead, after sweeping the road all morning.

VW driver Mikkelsen made his intentions clear on SS1, beating Ott Tanak by 1.3s while Ogier was just sixth quiet, 4.4s off the pace.

Paddon, running two hard compound tyres while most of the remainder of the field was on softs, took out the second stage by 2s over Mikkelsen which briefly gave the Kiwi the lead of the rally, before Mikkelsen hit back on SS3, beating Paddon by 1.7s.

Mikkelsen then stretched his advantage over SS4 and the short SS5, winning both stages to leave him clear at the midday service.

Ogier finally found some speed on SS4, finishing second ahead of Thierry Neuville, while Paddon had a spin on SS4 that led to him dropping to third, 14.2s off the lead, at the break.

Jari-Matti Latvala lost time all morning, after side swiping a gate during SS1. He’s currently down in 18th.

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About this article
Series WRC
Event Rally Australia
Article type Leg report