Slender Austialian Lead for Mikkelsen

Volkswagen team mates Andreas Mikkelsen and Sebastien Ogier are separated by just two seconds going into Volkwagen's World Rally Championship finale. Mikkelsen had started the afternoon 13.6 seconds ahead of Hyundai driver Hayden Paddon with Sebastien Ogier another three seconds adrift.
Mikkelsen then hit trouble on SS 16 although being quicker through the first split than Ogier but dropping 9.2s to his team-mate after suffering a bent clutch pedal that was touching the brake, which allowed Ogier to close to just 2.8s off the rally lead, trimming by another second with fastest SS17 time before Mikkelsen, who stopped on the road section after SS16 to work on the car, hit back on the second running of the superspecial to close the loop with a two-second margin.
Paddon third, but the Hyundai driver is 12 seconds behind Mikkelsen with five stages to run on Sunday and was left to lament worse tyre wear than the Vws. Behind the top three, Thierry Neuville's hold on fourth position became much more secure as Mads Ostberg's challenge faded. M-Sport Ford Fiesta driver Ostberg faded over SS15 with set-up issues and dropped behind the third Hyundai of Dani Sordo on SS16. Esapekka Lappi's WRC2 lead is almost four minutes as the Skoda driver closes in on the class title.

Top Ten Positions after SS18:

Pos .... Driver .... Team .... Car .... Gap
1. Andreas Mikkelsen, A.Jager Volkswagen Motorsport II Polo 2h15m06.2s
2. Sebastien Ogier, J.Ingrassia Volkswagen Motorsport Polo 2.0s
3. Hayden Paddon, J.Kennard Hyundai Motorsport Hyundai 12.0s
4. Thierry Neuville, N.Gilsoul Hyundai Motorsport Hyundai 33.8s
5. Dani Sordo, M.Marti Hyundai Motorsport N Hyundai 59.2s
6. Mads Ostberg, O.Floene M-Sport World Rally Team Ford 1m00.6s
7. Eric Camilli, B.Veillas M-Sport World Rally Team Ford 1m21.7s
8. Ott Tanak, R.Molder DMACK World Rally Team Ford 2m19.9s
9. Lorenzo Bertelli, S.Scattolin FWRT s.r.l. Ford 4m56.6s
10. Esapekka Lappi, J.Ferm Skoda Motorsport Skoda 5m22.7

19th November, 2016