WRC drivers fight for podium places during afternoon stage in Nambucca

The weather wreaked havoc on many of the drivers during one of the longest stages during the entire championship.

Showing the full weight of Nambucca microclimates, half the track received a good dosing of rain last night and early this morning, while the other half went wanting.

Even WRC17 winner Sebastien Ogier found the conditions quite a challenge.

“The full wet stage would have been nice for us, when it got dry it got quite loose and slippy,” Ogier said.

WATCH: Estonian Ott Tanak take a 90 degree corner like it ain’t no thang

“It was wet so the grip was really good and you could really push. When it dried up in the second part we lost grip and started to struggle – so the rain was a bonus for us,” Esapekka Lappi said

Thierry Neuville has proved his measure, clocking the best time in every Nambucca challenge today, and cementing his spot on the leaderboard.

We tried to do a good stage and pushed quite hard. Am sweating inside the car so much and sometimes lost concentration.

Thierry Neuville

The Belgian has ended the daytime section 19 seconds in front with two more runs on the harbourside Destination NSW Super Special Stage scheduled this evening before an overnight halt.

With Mikkelsen out of contention, the remaining spots on the podium have been left wide open, making the afternoon session a huge battle between Tanak, Latvala, Breen and Meeke.

There is a strong Estonian contingent floating around Nambucca at the moment who are mightily invested in their beloved Tanak going home with the goods.

While most Aussies Guardian News spoke with said they were just keen to see some first class driving and wished all the competitors well.

Tomorrow will see a 9.83km run through Pilbara Reserve, Bucca16 (31.90km) and Wedding Bells (6.44km) before a repeat of Pilbara and Wedding Bells to complete the 21 competitive stages.

There will be a ceremonial finish wrapping up the 13-round season at 3.30pm tomorrow in the Coffs city centre.