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By John Floyd

Motorsport columnist

Gazoo Racing hunt for honours

The 13th and final round of the season once again will decide the championship.

All three titles of the 2018 World Rally Championship – for drivers, co-drivers, and constructors – are up for grabs during the Kennards Hire Rally Australia in New South Wales.

The 13th and final round of the season once again will decide the championship.

Three competitive days of the rally will cover a total distance of 1 017km, including 24 special stages totalling 318km.

The rally will take the crews through some tough terrain, from rugged, dusty roads through dense rain forest, to public roads, providing a combination of tight and twisty to fast and flowing.

Weather could play a part if rain reduces the forest roads to ultra-slippery mudbaths.

The 5.07km shakedown stage will settle the order for Friday morning’s start in Coffs Harbour, close to the central service park.

The lead in the drivers’ title chase belongs to M-Sport WRT’s Sebastien Ogier, three points ahead of Thierry Neuville of Hyundai Shell Mobis WRT. The constructors table is led by Toyota Gazoo WRT on 331 points from Hyundai on 319 points, followed by M-Sport with 306 and Citroen Total Abu Dhabi WRT fourth on 216 points.

Hyundai will field Neuville (201 points and second overall), Andreas Mikkelsen (84; sixth) and Haydon Paddon (55; 10th). Ford’s Ogier will chase his sixth drivers’ championship and with team-mates Elfyn Evans (70 points; eighth overall) and Teemu Suninen (54; 10th) will be hoping to challenge Hyundai for second position in the constructors’ championship.

Toyota Gazoo Racing will run Ott Tanak (181 points; third overall, Esapekka Lappi (110 points; fourth overall) and Jari-Matti Latvala (102 points; fifth overall) and are looking good for the constructors’ title.

Craig Breen (61 points; ninth overall) and Mads Ostberg (52; 11th) will be hoping to emulate their occasional team-mate Sebastien Loeb’s victory for the Citroen team in Spain last month.

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