Defending Rally Australia champion Andreas Mikkelsen is hoping the forecasters get it wrong ahead of the weekend’s racing in Coffs Harbour. The Norwegian drove a Volkswagen to victory in the manufacturer’s World Rally Championship swan song last year and has returned to Australia in a Hyundai hopeful of going back-to-back.
A field of 78 crews will begin scoping the 320km route on Tuesday and the sun should be out when racing begins on Friday morning.
But rain is expected on Saturday and Sunday, which Mikkelsen anticipates will slow him down.
“It will be a bit difficult if it’s raining because my starting position on the road is very far behind (the leaders) and normally when it rains it gets more and more muddy for every car and conditions get slower,” Mikkelsen said.
“So I’m hoping for nice weather both for us and the audience.”
It will be just his third rally with Hyundai, but Mikkelsen is confident of building on a good last-round experience in Wales.
“The plan this weekend is to try to repeat the success of last year,” Mikkelsen said.
“Wales was great and I’m looking forward to transferring the speed I had there even more in Australia.
“Rally Australia is probably my favourite rally of the year. I have really high hopes for a win again this year – that would be awesome.”
French driver Sebastien Ogier can enjoy the stage knowing he already has the world championship in the bag, with several drivers capable of finishing second.