Mikkelsen Wins 2016 Rally Australia

Andreas Mikkelsen claim victory on Rally Australia for Volkswagen, the last WRC rally for the German manufactirer. The Norwegian had led the final round of the 2016 WRC season throughout, but under increasing pressure from Sebastien Ogier and Hyundai's Hayden Paddon. Mikkelsen started the final morning just 2 seconds ahead of Ogier and having increased his lead to 2.6s on Sundays first stage, Mikkelsen then watched it increase to more than 20s when Ogier spun on SS20 and Paddon hit a bank which shredded his left-rear tyre.
He topped SS21 to end the Sunday morning loop firmly in command, then drove sensibly on the two stages that ended the rally to win by 14.9s. Powerstage winner Ogiers error was not severe enough to do any damage to his race result but Paddons dropped him from third to fifth behind his two Hyundai team mates but he took fourth back from Dani Sordo by 1.6 seconds before the end of the rally, with Neuville comfortably holding third.
Behind the trio of Hyundais Mads Ostberg was a lonely sixth for the M Sport team, which ended the rally with one Fiesta running after Eric Camilli rolled out of seventh on the final morning and the Frenchmans mistake promoted Ott Tanak to seventh in the M Sport customer Fiesta run by the D MACK team. This also allowed Skodas Esapekka Lappi to clinch the WRC2 title with a top eight finish on a rally he had dominated his class in, finishing more than four and a half minutes clear.
The third VW of Jari Matti Latvala made it back to ninth after his victory bid ended on the opening morning when he hit a bridge on the first stage and after damaging his suspension had been clawing back time and positions since.

Pos ..... Driver ..... Team ..... Car ..... Gap
1. Andreas Mikkelsen, A.Jager Volkswagen Motorsport 2h46m05.7s
2. Sebastien Ogier, J.Ingrassia Volkswagen Motorsport 14.9s
3. Thierry Neuville, N.Gilsoul Hyundai Motorsport Hyundai 1m12.6s
4. Hayden Paddon, J.Kennard Hyundai Motorsport Hyundai 1m26.7s
5. Dani Sordo, M.Marti Hyundai Motorsport N Hyundai 1m28.3s
6. Mads Ostberg, O.Floene M-Sport World Rally Team Ford 1m41.5s
7. Ott Tanak, R.Molder DMACK World Rally Team Ford 3m04.3s
8. Esapekka Lappi, J.Ferm Skoda Motorsport Skoda 7m32.3s
9. Jari-Matti Latvala, M.Anttila Volkswagen Motorsport 7m56.9s
10. Lorenzo Bertelli, S.Scattolin FWRT s.r.l. Ford 8m00.1s

2016 Drivers Championship Top Ten Final positions

Pos .... Driver .... Points
1. Sebastien Ogier 268
2. Thierry Neuville 160
3. Andreas Mikkelsen 154
4. Hayden Paddon 138
5. Dani Sordo 130
6. Jari-Matti Latvala 112
7. Mads Ostberg 102
8. Ott Tanak 88
9. Kris Meeke 64
10. Craig Breen 36

20th November, 2016