COFFS HARBOUR, Australia // Sebastien Ogier, the World Rally Championship points leader, won all three early stages Friday at Rally Australia to take the overall lead and leave him in a strong position to clinch the title this weekend.
Ogier, who also won a special stage Thursday, has an overall time of 29 minutes, 50.9 seconds, a lead of 8.8 seconds over Northern Ireland’s Kris Meeke.
Finland’s Mikko Hirvonen was in third place, nine seconds behind Ogier, while Andreas Mikkelsen of Norway, the Frenchman’s Volkswagen Motorsport teammate who led after the two opening stages, dropped to sixth.
There were three road stages and two special stages in Coffs Harbour scheduled for later on Friday.
The 22-stage, 354-kilometre Rally Australia, 10th of 13 stops on the world championship, ends on Sunday.