Volkswagen Motorsport maintained their top slot at the end of the second day at Rally Australia with Sebastien Ogier taking the lead from the overnight leader and teammate Jari-Matta Latvala.
Ogier took a marginal 0.3s lead over Citroen's Kris Meeke, into the final day of Rally Australia. It was only in the controversial final night stage of the day that the French driver managed to snatch the lead from Meeke.
"I was worried about the dust near the beginning, but it was okay," Ogier said after the final stage.
"There's still a lot of dust on the road. I expected it would be cleaner.
"I didn't find the optimal rhythm so I was not flat out," he added.
Meeke, on the other hand, was furious at the end of the day as he brought his car at the finish control after finishing 2.7s slower than Ogier in the final stage and thereby losing the lead.
He was visibly angry with the FIA officials over the night stage, despite five-minute gaps between the cars, and refused to make any comments to the waiting media.
Ogier, throughout the day, had closed the gap to Meeke as he moved ahead of Latvala in the third stage of the day which he finished on top.
Earlier in the day, overnight leader Latvala lost the top slot in the opening stage when Meeke took a 2.6s lead on the Finnish driver in the Nambucca I, the ninth stage of the rally.
Meeke then maintained his lead over the Volkswagen drivers until the Valla II night stage where Ogier had finished on top ahead of his teammate Latvala with Meeke, only fourth.
"I pushed really hard, but I'm losing time here and there. There was some dust, but I was able to manage it," Latvala said at the end of the day.
Meanwhile, New Zealand's Hayden Paddon (Hyundai) started the day, setting the pace, taking the first two stages as he finished fifth overall behind Volkswagen's Andreas Mikkelsen.
The overall top 10 was completed by Ott Tanak (Ford) at sixth, Thierry Neuville (Hyundai) seventh, Dani Sordo (Hyundai) eighth, Elfyn Evans (Ford) ninth and Al-Attiyah (Ford) 10th.
|1||Sebastien Ogier (VW Polo)||2:20:51.8|
|2||Kris Meeke (Citroen DS3)||2:20:52.1||+0.3s|
|3||Jari-Matti Latvala (VW Polo)||2:20:54.4||+2.6s|
|4||Andreas Mikkelsen (VW Polo)||2:21:00.9||+9.1s|
|5||Hayden Paddon (Hyundai i20)||2:21:11.2||+19.1s|