Only Sébastien Loeb (nine), Juha Kankkunen and Tommi Mäkinen (four each) have lifted the crown on three or more occasions, and Ogier’s sixth win of the season in Germany last month puts him within touching distance of joining them.
He leads Volkswagen team-mate Jari-Matti Latvala by 93 points and if he finishes ahead of the Finn, no matter in what position, the title will be his. If Latvala wins, second and a bonus point from the Power Stage would be sufficient for Ogier with three rounds still to come.
“Now I have a real chance to get it. I have the cards in my hand to secure it in Australia and why not? It is a rally I really love, a very special event,” said Ogier, who began rally week with a visit to Sydney.
“As it is an overseas rally, there is a little less hustle and bustle. It’s a bit more intimate and I like that and the special stages are very nice to drive. I always have a lot of fun in the car here,” he added.
The Frenchman is the form driver in Australia, having won in 2013 and 2014, but must overcome the potential disadvantage of opening the roads on Friday andSaturday, sweeping slippery gravel from the roads.
Volkswagen starts Australia on the back of a 1-2-3 at its home round in Germany and the team can also secure its third straight manufacturers’ title.
“We obviously want to take the momentum our home win has given us to Australia, although the conditions will be completely different Down Under,” said motorsport director Jost Capito.
“We would like to wrap up all three titles (drivers’ co-drivers’ and manufacturers’) with rallies to come and we have a realistic chance of doing just that. We will have to do another perfect job in order to emerge successful,” he added.