WRC battle looms
WHEN the first rally cars arrive on the Coffs Coast in less than two weeks, the race for the drivers' championship in the WRC will be alive.
Doubts that seven-time world champion Sebastien Loeb would hold a dominant points lead by the time the World Rally Championship came to the Coffs Coast were erased at the weekend.
Loeb's French compatriot Sebastien Ogier won the ninth leg of the World Rally Championship, the Rally of Germany, on Sunday to give Citroen a record-breaking 78th win in the sport.
Ogier, 27, beat teammate Loeb, the series leader, by 40 seconds to record his sixth career win.
Spaniard Dani Sordo was third in a Mini.
Ogier's victory, his first WRC win on tarmac, moved him to second place in the standings.
It also ended a run of eight successive wins in the German race by seven-time world champion Loeb.
Loeb, who recorded the first of his 66 career wins in this rally in 2002, did, however, have the consolation of winning the race-ending super-special stage, which gives extra points.
Ogier, who had been annoyed on Friday when he had been ordered by team chiefs to stay behind Loeb, said he was undaunted by the points gap that still exists between him and his compatriot.
"As long as there is a mathematical chance of winning the world title, I will continue to believe in it," Ogier said. "Sebastien Loeb is driving fast, he is consistent, and he doesn't often make mistakes.
"He is always on the podium but there are still four rallies remaining and many things can still happen."
Ogier gained an advantage of 70 seconds on Saturday when Loeb suffered a puncture while leading on the day's last stage.