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Neuville won't drive to protect lead

AAP logoAAP 17/11/2016 Scott Bailey

Hyundai's Thierry Neuville admits he may be a little extra cautious at this weekend's season-ending Rally Australia, but doesn't want to change his tactics too much.

Neuville holds second spot in the drivers' championship, 14 points clear of Volkswagen's Andreas Mikkelsen.

A top-five finish in the last stage on Sunday will be enough for Neuville to clinch his first runners-up spot since 2012.

But he says he won't be changing his style to protect his lead.

"For sure you have to be a little more careful in some places," he told AAP.

"But I prefer to drive as myself. Go fast and just in the very tricky places maybe brake slightly earlier."

Drivers will complete the opening 11 stages on Friday, totalling more than 120 kilometres.

Relatively warm temperatures are forecast, which could play havoc with tyres on the road section.

Meanwhile a lack of rain could provide even more tricky conditions in the dust. Cars will be released three minutes apart in an effort to avoid visibility problems.

However that is not necessarily always enough if winds do not pick up.

"Still sometimes the dust gets stuck in the forest," Neuville said.

"It makes it difficult and sometimes dangerous."

The Belgian driver has surged from eighth in the championship earlier this year to hold onto second spot.

And while technical issues cruelled his chances in four of the earlier rounds, he will happily aim for second spot in the title race this weekend, with Volkswagen driver Sebastien Ogier having already wrapped up the championship.

"That's the place where we should be to be honest," he said.

"It would not have been possible to fight for the championship. Our car is still to improve but we made huge progress which is nice."

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