WRC A FULL 2016
ØSTBERG HUNTS AUSTRALIAN BEST.
M-Sport World Rally Team’s Mads Østberg is hunting down a top-five finish at this weekend’s Kennards Hire Rally Australia – keen to equal his best result of fifth overall at the Australian fixture. Currently holding sixth position, the Norwegian had been challenging for fourth and will be keen to make a move through tomorrow’s closing stages.
Today’s action took place in the forests south of Coffs Harbour and played host to the longest day of competition which incorporated two runs through the mammoth Nambucca stage which stood at more than fifty kilometres in length.
Once again, Østberg and co-driver Ola Fløene were quick out of the blocks. Taking time out of his rivals, the Norwegian posted the second fastest time through the first pass of Valla (SS13) and was closing in on fourth position – slashing a 15 second deficit to just over seven seconds at the midday service break.
But having made some adjustments for the second pass, the set-up proved too hard for the slippery conditions and he struggled for grip. Lacking the traction and confidence that he had enjoyed over the morning loop, the Norwegian fell back to sixth but remains as hungry as
With just 1.4 seconds to find through tomorrow’s final 57.18 kilometres, Østberg will be on the hunt again – keen to make ground and equal his best result through these unique and challenging stages.
In the sister M-Sport Fiesta RS WRC, Éric Camilli and co-driver Benjamin Veillas continued to progress – posting competitive times whilst learning the distinct nature of the Australian roads.
Despite driving with an air of caution to ensure they completed all of the stages unscathed, the Frenchmen had the better of their more experienced rivals on several occasions and posted a string of competitive times whilst discovering the challenging terrain.
Learning quickly, the pairing are clearly enjoying the Australian event and remain just over 20 seconds adrift of their team mates. Keen to continue in the same vein tomorrow, Camilli will be looking to bring his debut season to a strong close on the spectacular Coffs Coast.
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Mads Østberg (6th) said:
“It’s been a good day and, again, we showed that we have some really good speed with the second fastest time through the second stage this morning (SS13).
“We decided to make some changes to the set-up for the second pass of Nambucca (SS15) but unfortunately that didn’t work out and we lost quite a lot of time. It was still quite slippery and we were struggling for traction. I knew already after a couple of corners that it wasn’t going to work so to do 50 kilometres like that wasn’t easy.
“We did our best, but we’ll go back to the standard set-up tomorrow and fight again. The gap to Dani [Sordo in fifth] is very small, and we want that fifth place so that is what we will fight for.”
Éric Camilli (7th) said:
“Like yesterday, it’s been another good day for us. The rally is continuing very well and we are on the pace which is really good. Of course I know I could go faster in places, but that brings more risk which is not the objective this weekend. Still, it’s really good to see that we are not so far away.
“The first pass of the long stage was not so easy as we were discovering the road for the first time, but then it got a lot better. On the next stages our times were a lot stronger and that was really good to see. Even when we lost the brakes through the second pass of Valla (SS16), we were able to manage the situation and the time was competitive.”
Team Principal, Malcolm Wilson OBE, said:
“It’s been another challenging day, but both Mads and Éric have kept their cool. Mads showed some great speed again this morning with a second fastest time and it looked as though he would have a chance to challenge for fourth place. Unfortunately, he didn’t get the set-up quite right for the second pass and lost some time, but I’m sure he will be up for the fight tomorrow.
“It’s been another good day for Éric too. He’s not taken any unnecessary risks and taken the time to learn the unique nature of the stages. His times have been competitive and you can hear that he is enjoying it. He sounds more relaxed and is really getting to grips with this rally which is unlike anything else we experience throughout the year. Australia certainly seems to be suiting him and we’ll be looking for more of the same tomorrow.”
RESULTS AFTER SS18
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