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WRC: Mikkelsen storms Oz rally

2013-09-13 08:01

RALLYING A STORM: Andreas Mikkelsen of Norway is currently in the lead at the Rally Australia, and it's the Finn's first time in the top spot at a WRC event. Image: AFP

COFFS HARBOUR, Australia - Andreas Mikkelsen of Norway won the first special stage and was second in the other on Thursday to lead Rally Australia 2013 after the opening day.

Mikkelsen had an overall time of 2min45.3 after the two 1.6km special stages. Kris Meeke of Northern Ireland, who led qualifying earlier in the day, was second in 2min46.2 and Jari-Matti Latvala of Finland was third in 2min46.7.

Sebastien Ogier of France, Mikkelsen's Volkswagen Motorsport team mate who leads the World Rally Championship standings by 75 points and could clinch the 2013 title with a win this weekend, won the second stage and sits fourth overall in 2min46.8, 1.5 seconds behind.

FIRST LEAD

Mikkelsen, who leads a WRC event for the first time, clipped a barrier with the left-hand front corner of his car on the second loop of the course.

Mikkelsen said: "The stage was okay but I think the organisers sprayed water on the road after the first pass and suddenly it was super slippery. I think we're okay, no damage."

Ogier said he looked forward to Friday's first full day on the gravel roads in the forests outside Coffs Harbour and said: "I just tried to keep out of trouble here, but it was tricky because we decided to start with the hard (compound) tyres.

"Not the best in the slippery stuff - we didn't expect more water on the stage. Friday (Sept13) is the real start of the rally."

Mikko Hirvonen is fifth overall, with Thierry Neuville, who is closest to Ogier in the standings, sixth.

Coffs Harbour resident Nathan Quinn ended the day 10th on his debut in a Mini. He said: "I'm learning a lot pretty quickly, now I can't wait to get out on the wide roads."

The 22-stage, 354km Rally Australia, 10th of 13 stops on the world championship, will end on Sunday (Sept 15)
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Read more on:    volkswagen  |  sebastien ogier  |  australia  |  motorsport  |  wrc  |  rally

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