The final round of the 2016 FIA World Rally Championship, Rally Australia is underway this weekend. After the completion of first-day stages, Volkswagen driver Andreas Mikkelsen leads by 15.4 seconds in his Polo WRC.
Rally Australia also marks Volkswagen's final show in the WRC as the manufacturer decided to quite WRC after this season. This move from Volkswagen was a shocker as the 2017 car was already developed.
Although Mikkelsen only managed to win just a single stage, his overall consistent times in the day's stages kept him in the lead.
Four-time WRC champion Sebastien Ogier was right behind his teammate Mikkelsen. Ogier was in fourth until afternoon, but with improving road grip the Frenchman was back into his rhythm and made the leap to second overall.
Hyundai i20 WRC suffered high tyre wear compared to the Volkswagen WRC, as a result, Hyundai factory driver Thierry Neuville slipped down to third from second position.
Hyundai driver Hayden Paddon completed the day in fourth overall, he was briefly leading the rally in the morning loop of stages. But he could,nt keep up the pace in the afternoon.
The M-Sport Ford Fiesta WRC of Mads Ostberg and Eric Camilli are battling it out as the duo completed the first leg of the rally in fifth and sixth respectively. Hyundai driver Dani Sordo is in lowly seventh as he received a penalty for arriving late at special stage four.
DMack WRC team driver Ott Tanak in his Fiesta WRC suffered the same issue as Sordo and received 40 seconds penalty for arriving late on super special stage. He finished eighth after day one.
The biggest drama was VW driver Jari-Matti Latvala, he damaged his suspension in the very first stage and was out of contention for victory. WRC 2 driver Esapekka Lappi and WRC privateer Lorenzo Bertelli rounded off the top ten finishers after day one.