Published: Sun, November 20, 2016
Economy | By Melissa Porter

Mikkelsen wins Rally of Australia in Volkswagen's last race

Mikkelsen wins Rally of Australia in Volkswagen's last race

Again, large crowds turned out for a second night for the spectacular 1.27 sprint between the harbor and Pacific Ocean beach, witnessing stunning displays of skill as Ogier and Mikkelsen each won a stage.

Mikkelsen went into the final two stages of the rally with a 22.7s lead, meaning he simply needed two clean passes to secure victory at what is VW's final rally at World Championship level.

After the completion of first-day stages, Volkswagen driver Andreas Mikkelsen leads by 15.4 seconds in his Polo WRC.

Paddon headed into the season-ending Rally Australia event in Coffs Harbour needing to win the event for a top three finish and had an outside chance of a second place finish.

Mikkelsen dominated Volkswagon's final rally, leading after all but one stage and overcoming a freakish incident on the second day when his clutch and brake pedal became wedged together. "I managed to catch it in a corner but it was a bit scary".

The Norwegian was quicker through the first split than Ogier but dropped 9.2s to his team-mate after suffering a bent clutch pedal that was touching the brake.

Four-time WRC champion Sebastien Ogier was right behind his teammate Mikkelsen. All this year I drove for the championship but here we just went for the win, to see how fast we were.

"The plan was to try and win the power stage because I would like to try and beat Thierry for that second place, but I'm still happy about this", Mikkelsen said. "We made some good improvements over past year and certainly going to come back stronger", Paddon said. "We used a ratchet strap to bend it back into place".

Mikkelsen started the afternoon loop with a 13.6-second advantage over Hyundai driver Hayden Paddon and Ogier another three seconds in arrears. "The stages we get tomorrow are quite different to the rest of the rally - they are new and fast in the forest". Esapekka Lappi is set to take the WRC2 crown in his Skoda Fabia R5.

A puncture for Kiwi driver Hayden Paddon has sent his hopes at Rally Australia out the window.

Ogier has already wrapped up a fourth successive title, to ensure Volkswagen will bow out of the World Rally Championship on a high.

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