Dani Sordo has set the pace in today’s shakedown for Repco Rally Australia ahead of Citroen Total World Rally teammates Sebastien Loeb and Sebastien Ogier.

After four runs over the 3.29km stage at Dunloe Park, Pottsville, competitors completed the stage up to seven times.

Sordo set a time of 1min:34.3seconds to be fastest by 0.5 seconds. Even Sordo’s second fastest time of 1:34.5 was faster than teammate and defending world champion Sebastien Loeb, who put in a time of 1:34.8.

In dry and dusty conditions, Citroen Junior Team driver Sebastien Ogier completed a Citroen lockout, with a time of 1:35.2, 0.9 seconds off Sordo.

Championship leader Mikko Hirvonen led home BP Ford Abu Dhabi World Rally teammate Jari-Matti Latvala, while the lone Munchi’s Ford World Rally Team’s Federico Villagra managed to equal Latvala’s time on his sixth run.

Stobart KV M-Sport Ford driver Henning Solberg was the only driver to make seven runs, his Ford setting seventh fastest time of 1:35.9 on his fifth and sixth attempts.

Stobart teammate Matthew Wilson (Ford), Khalid Al Qassimi (BP Ford Abu Dhabi) and Citroen Junior Team’s Conrad Rautenbach round out the top 10.

Australia’s leading driver, Neal Bates, put in a stunning time to be placed 11th in his Group N/P-WRC Toyota Corolla S2000 and also the highest placed non-turbocharged car.

Repco Rally Australia starts tonight with the first two stages start on tarmac at Murwillumbah before hitting the gravel stages for three full days tomorrow, Saturday and Sunday.

SHAKEDOWN fastest time classification
 
DRIVER                        FASTEST TIME
1. D. Sordo                   1:34.3
2. S. Loeb                     1:34.8
3. S. Ogier                     1:35.2
4. M. Hirvonen          1:35.5
=5. J-M. Latvala        1:35.7
=5. F. Villagra            1:35.7
7. H. Solberg                 1:35.9
8. M. Wilson                  1:37.3
9. K. Al Qassimi              1:38.6
10. 8 C. Rautenbach           1:40.3
11. N. Bates (AUS)            1:43.0 (Grp. N)