WRC A FULL 2016
ØSTBERG ON FORM IN SARDINIA.
M-Sport World Rally Team’s Mads Østberg is back where he belongs – fighting for FIA World Rally Championship podiums behind the wheel of his Ecoboost-powered Ford Fiesta RS WRC.
10 June, 2016
With his previous issues rectified by M-Sport’s team of engineers, he and co-driver Ola Fløene currently find themselves in a strong fifth position at Rally Italia Sardegna – just 18.2 seconds adrift of the top-three.
Despite being hindered by his earlier road position, Østberg was right on the pace and posted a number of competitive times over the morning loop which included a third fastest time through “Tula” (SS3).
Knowing how abrasive the Sardinian gravel can be, he credited a ‘perfect’ tyre strategy over the morning stages but found himself at a disadvantage in the afternoon having opted for six of Michelin’s hard compound tyres.
With his extra spare disrupting the balance of his Fiesta, the Norwegian remained in touch with his rivals but lost out to Andreas Mikkelsen on the final stage – trailing his fellow countryman by a single second.
With all to play for, Østberg and Fløene will be keen to regain that place and potentially even more when the action resumes tomorrow.
In the sister M-Sport Fiesta RS WRC, Éric Camilli and Benjamin Veillas looked set to continue what has been an impressive level of progression.
With a good feeling in the car, the Frenchmen started strongly. Making the most of their later road position, their pace was closer to that of the leaders and they had the better of their team mates through the opening speed test (SS2).
But Camilli was denied an opportunity to impress further when encountering a technical issue with the rear differential on the second stage of the day (SS3). Having to battle through the remaining stages with only two-wheel-drive, he was robbed of a chance to challenge for the podium alongside Østberg.
Taking confidence from his speed and his vast potential, Camilli used the afternoon wisely and experimented with a number of set-up variations so as to further increase his knowledge at rallying’s highest league.
QUOTE, END QUOTE
Mads Østberg (5th) said:
“It’s been a really good day for us and it’s great to be back on the pace of the guys around us. We had a really good run in the morning with a perfect tyre strategy but we did something slightly different to the others this afternoon. We had an extra spare compared to everyone else and we were punished a little for that. It’s not a big difference, but the extra weight does affect the balance of the car slightly and in places I struggled to stay in the lines.
“But overall, we can be very happy with the job we have done today. When everything is working as it should, the times are there and that is very nice to see. There is still a long way to go, but I really enjoy tomorrow’s stages so we’ll be looking to fight again.”
Éric Camilli (17th) said:
“We had a really good start to the rally and I was really pleased with our speed over the opening stage – I think it was even better than last time out in Portugal. Were it not for the technical issue, we could have been fighting close to Mads so it was a disappointment, but sometimes that’s just the way it is.
“We tried to push in the afternoon, but as we were experiencing the stages for the first time at full speed it was difficult to find the rhythm and we made a few little mistakes. We know where the time loss is coming from – little bits here and cuts there – and the car feels good so that is very promising for the future.
“We’ve not had the best of luck today, but we’ll try to push a bit more tomorrow and hopefully we can continue to show some good progress.”
Team Principal, Malcolm Wilson OBE, said:
“It’s great to see Mads back where we would expect him and the Fiesta to be. Our engineers found a solution which makes the car much more to his liking and it’s good to see him at the sharp end of the field – battling with Andreas [Mikkelsen] and Seb [Ogier].
“Eric was really unlucky today – suffering a technical issue through no fault of his own. He had the pace to have been right up there with Mads which would have been an incredible achievement when you consider how little experience he has. You can hear in his voice how determined he is to keep improving, and I have no doubt that he will continue to do that.”
RESULTS AFTER SS9
– ENDS –
Anna Louise Rudd
Media M-Sport WRT
Admin and Translation:
Rally Report Magazine Argentina
Categories: Rally Report Magazine 16 Años