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Volkswagen aim for rally championship 1-2

AAP logoAAP 17/11/2016 Scott Bailey

Powerhouse team Volkswagen will aim to bow out of World Rally with their third consecutive drivers' championship one-two result at this weekend's season-ending event in Australia.

With top driver Sebastien Ogier having already claimed the title, Andreas Mikkelsen needs to make up 14 points on Hyundai rival Thierry Neuville to claim second.

The rally will be Volkswagen's last before exiting the sport, with the global emissions scandal forcing the manufacturer to announce their departure earlier this month despite winning four straight drivers' and constructors' titles.

"Four years will end after this weekend," an emotional Mikkelsen said.

"That's the way it is, life goes on. Let's try and make it a good finish for the Volkswagen team."

In order to do that and claim second spot in the title race, Mikkelsen will need at least a top-four finish on the dusty roads surrounding Coffs Harbour.

While parts of the forest stages have been altered to accommodate for any potential standing water caused by summer's monsoonal rains, the dry forecast could cause even bigger dust problems than usual, making vision difficult for drivers.

Mikkelsen and Neuville will also have two others ready to claim second spot in the championship if they slip up.

New Zealander Hayden Paddon is 17 points behind his Hyundai teammate Neville in fourth, while Spain's Dani Sordo remains an outside chance in fifth, 24 points back on Neuville.

The winner of the rally will claim 25 points, while an extra three points are on offer for the fastest through the final stage on Sunday.

Vital seconds will also be on offer through the unique Super Special Stages held on Friday and Saturday night in the heart of Coffs Harbour which includes a raised berm turn, 360-degree doughnut corner and a jump on the beach.

Mikkelsen appeared to be in control of second position in the championship a month ago, before retiring in Spain and then crashing heavily during the Welsh Rally and finishing 12th.

In comparison, Neuville has finished on the podium in the past four races.

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