Mikkelsen wins Rally of Aus­tralia in Volk­swa­gen’s last race

Malta Independent - - SPORTS -

An­dreas Mikkelsen held off Se­bastien Ogier to win the Rally of Aus­tralia by 14.9 sec­onds yes­ter­day, giv­ing Volk­swa­gen a vic­tory in its fi­nal race in the World Rally Cham­pi­onship.

Nor­way’s Mikkelsen started the fi­nal day of the rally with a nar­row two-sec­ond lead over his Volk­swa­gen team­mate, who was re­cently crowned the world driv­ers’ cham­pion for the fourth straight year.

Ogier closed the gap to just 0.3 sec­onds at the mid­point of the dusty Bucca stage, the sec­ond of five stages on the fi­nal day. But the French­man then spun his Volk­swagon Rolo R near the fin­ish and com­pleted the stage 19.6 sec­onds slower than Mikkelsen, giv­ing the Nor­we­gian a com­mand­ing over­all lead.

Mikkelsen be­gan the rally in third place in the driv­ers’ stand­ings be­hind Ogier and Bel­gium’s Thierry Neuville, hop­ing a win would lift him into sec­ond place and give Volk­swa­gen its fourth con­sec­u­tive one-two fin­ish in its fi­nal cham­pi­onship. The com­pany has said it will not com­pete in WRC again af­ter this sea­son.

But Neuville, driv­ing a Hyundai, fin­ished the race in third place, en­sur­ing he’d re­main in sec­ond over­all in the driv­ers’ stand­ings.

Ogier and Mikkelsen now find them­selves look­ing for new cars for next sea­son, likely put­ting pres­sure on driv­ers on other teams.

An­dreas Mikke lsen and team­mate An­ders Jaeger Syn­nevag cel­e­brate af­ter win­ning Rally Aus­tralia

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