Sebastien Ogier moves into the overall lead at Rally Australia
Last Updated: 12/09/15 12:03pm
Sebastien Ogier finished first in the night stage to move into the overall lead by a fraction of a second at Rally Australia.
And the Frenchman has now enhanced his chances of winning his third consecutive World Rally Championship title.
With five stages remaining on Sunday in the 17-stage, 192.20-mile rally, Ogier's Volkswagen entry had an overall time of 2 hours, 20 minutes, 51.8 seconds, just three-tenths of a second ahead of Northern Ireland's Kris Meeke in his Citroen.
Ogier's Volkswagen team-mate Jari-Matti Latvala of Finland was in third place, 2.6 seconds behind Ogier.
With a lead of 93 points in the driver standings, Ogier will now secure his third title in a row if he finishes ahead of Latvala.
But Ogier concedes he did not think his time would be quickest on the 4.9-mile Valla stage held well after sunset.
"I was worried about the dust near the beginning but it was OK," Ogier said. "I didn't find the optimal rhythm so I was not flat out."
Latvala was quicker than Ogier at the mid-point of the night stage, but was slower at the finish.
"I pushed really hard but I'm losing time here and there," Latvala said. "Of course I want to fight for the win here."
Meeke led the rally after the opening two stages on Saturday, but was 2.7 seconds slower than Ogier on the final stage and lost the lead. He had words with FIA officials at the end of his run and refused to make any comments to the media.
Leading positions after Stage 12:
1 S Ogier (Fra) Volkswagen 2:20.51.8
2 K Meeke (NIrl) Citroen +0.3
3 J-M Latvala (Fin) Volkswagen +2.6
4 A Mikkelsen (Nor) Volkswagen +9.1
5 H Paddon (Nzl) Hyundai +19.4
6 O Tanak (Est) Ford +39.1
7 T Neuville (Bel) Hyundai +1:03.9
8 D Sordo (Esp) Hyundai +1:10.2
9 E Evans (Wal) Ford +3:15.1
10 N Al-Attiyah (Qat) Ford +8:30.4