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Subaru rally driver Cody Crocker sits in third place in the battle for Production car honours after the opening day of Rally Australia, round ten of the World Rally Championship.

Crocker produced a strong drive across all 11 of the day’s stages in his Les Walkden Rallying-prepared Subaru Impreza WRX STI to be placed as the leading Australian in the field.

The Victorian trails the class leader, fellow Subaru driver, New Zealander Richard Mason, by 14.3 seconds with just the two Super Special Stages to be run tonight to end Leg One.

Portugal’s Bernardo Sousa is in second place in his Fiat Abarth, 12.3 seconds behind the leader, while Czech driver Martin Prokop, in a Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9, is fourth, a further 1.9 seconds in arrears of Crocker.

Neal Bates is the next best placed Australian in his Toyota Corolla S2000, a further 34.3 seconds behind the Subaru driver.

Crocker and co-driver Ben Atkinson were satisfied with their opening day, but know they will face plenty of challenges if they are to remain in a podium position.

“Part of us knows not to take risks, as there are still two days to go and lots can happen, but we also know that we need to keep within striking distance,” Crocker said. “Where we are is about right at the moment.

“Hopefully we can continue to work with the car and find a bit more pace.

“Even though there are lots of short stages, it works pretty well. I’ve found you move quickly between them and it’s been a really good event.

“There is a heap of variation between the stages. Some are really quick while the next one can be tight and twisty.

“We thought dust might have been a problem but it was really no issue for us. The rain basically stayed away today, but it will get very slippery, very quickly if the weather really turns over the final two days.

The Rally continues across both Saturday and Sunday.

Rally Australia, P-WRC Results – end of Stage 13

1 Richard Mason (NZ), Subaru Impreza WRX STI
2 Bernardo Sousa (P), Fiat Abarth,  +12.3
3 Cody Crocker (AUS), Subaru Impreza WRX STI, +14.3
4 Martin Prokop (CZ), Mitsubihsi Lancer Evo 9, +16.2
5 Armindo Araujo, (P), Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9 +36.7
6 Neal Bates (AUS), Toyota Corolla S2000, +48.6
7 Toshi Arai (J), Subaru Impreza WRX STI, +1:14.6
8 Stewart Taylor (NZ), Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9+1:56.6
9 Steven Sheddheard (AUS), Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X, +2:05.4
10 Gianluca Linari (I), Subaru Impreza WRX STI, +6:57.5
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