M-Sport Ford Rally Team driver Sebastien Ogier just needs a top six finish in the Kennard’s Hire Rally Australia to be crowned the 2018 FIA World Rally Championship champion.
Ogier and his team mate Elfyn Evans are in sixth and seventh place overall heading into the final day of the event.
Speaking following Saturday’s action, Ogier said:
The loose gravel has made it a difficult rally for us so far, but it’s been a positive day in terms of the championship and I’m very happy with that.
“First on the road yesterday was really tough. Fifth on the road today was a little bit better, but we still lost a lot of time compared to the guys starting further back.
“It was a bit frustrating sometimes, but the main target is the championship and scoring the points we need. That’s what we’re doing at the moment, but tomorrow’s final kilometres will feel pretty long and we’ll need to be focused.”
Evans commented by saying:
We all knew it would be difficult being early on the road today. The gravel was really loose and you could see how much it was cleaning and how much faster the road was getting with every car. Still, we delivered a clean and tidy drive and it was nice to show some speed through both passes of the Raleigh stage.”
M-Sport Ford Team Principal Malcolm Wilson OBE said:
We are witnessing a truly golden age of rallying and it is fantastic to watch – albeit pretty nerve-wracking too! Whoever comes out on top tomorrow will be a deserving champion, and everyone in the service park can consider themselves winners for providing such a spectacular show.
“It was a bit of a frustrating day with all three of our drivers clearing the loose gravel, but we saw some good times in the Super Specials and – most importantly – Sébastien and Julien are where they need to be to clinch the title. Anything can happen over the closing stages, but it’s looking good at the moment.”