Estonian rally driver Ott Tänak has finished the first day of the season-ending WRC Kennards Hire Rally Australia at top of the leaderboard, in a last gasp attempt to clinch the title.
Toyota driver Tänak, 30, from Saaremaa currently lies in third place in the world rankings on 181 points, 23 points shy of top placed driver Sébastien Ogier (M-Sport Ford) of France. Thierry Neuville (Hyundai) of Belgium lies in third place going into the weekend at Coffs Coast, New South Wales, halfway between Newcastle and Brisbane.
A win for Tänak and co-driver Martin Järveoja in the Yaris would gain would gain 25 points, which would still only be enough for a title win if Tänank picked up all or most of the five bonus points up for grabs AND if Ogier experiences problems and finishes way down the field. At press time Ogier and Neuville are running in 6th and 8th places respectively.
Tänak is nonetheless piling the pressure on the first and second placed men in the title rankings, who are separated by just three points.
Ott Tänak has won four races in the 13-race calendar this year, including three wins on the trot in Finland, Germany and Turkey. He also finished second in the season-opener in Monaco in January, and in France in April.
A live blog of the last day of the rally (in Estonian) is here, with the power stage broadcast starting at 04.00 EET.
Editor: Andrew Whyte