Australia WRC: Mikkelsen extends lead as Ogier and Paddon lose time

Andreas Mikkelsen took advantage of Sebastien Ogier and Hayden Paddon both hitting trouble and will start the final two stages of Rally Australia with a lead of 22.7s.

Mikkelsen started the day two and 12 seconds in front of his main rivals respectively, and he was narrowly quickest in SS19 before he topped the 31km Bucca stage in a dominant fashion.

He beat Sebastien Ogier by 19.6s, the Frenchman admittedly losing around 15 seconds because of a spin.

Hayden Paddon, meanwhile, had bigger issues as he damaged his rear left tyre and lost over a minute.

"Nothing to say. We went wide, touched a bank and pushed the tyre off the rim," explained Paddon, who dropped behind his teammates Thierry Neuville and Dani Sordo.

Mikkelsen was again fastest in SS21, which was stopped due to a roll from Eric Camilli.

The M-Sport driver's car ended up sideways following the incident and, while it was back on its wheels with the help of spectators, the medical crew attended the scene before the running was restarted.

Neuville, who also wasted around 10 seconds with a spin in SS19, is 52.4s behind Ogier but a third place would be enough for the Belgian to secure second in the standings.

Mads Ostberg continues to hold sixth with Ott Tanak gaining a spot following Camilli's retirement.

Esapekka Lappi, who is two stages away from taking the WRC2 title, was up to eighth after passing Lorenzo Bertelli, who had a broken differential.

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About this article
Series WRC
Event Rally Australia
Sub-event Leg three
Article type Leg report