Mads Ostberg has promised to push for a good result in Greece later this month in the wake of a third disappointing WRC result in succession in Argentina.
Ostberg had been aiming for a podium on the South American event, the fifth round in the 2013 FIA World Rally Championship, but bad luck on the opening leg put pay to that, when he hit an unsighted rock some 15 kilometres into the second pass of Santa Catalina / La Pampa [SS4] and broke a steering arm [see separate story
Despite slipping down to eleventh, and having to re-start under Rally 2, however, the Norwegian stormed back on day two - winning SS7 - and eventually bringing his Qatar M-Sport WRT-run Ford Fiesta RS WRC car home in seventh to notch up six championship points.
“It was a difficult start to the rally. We were struggling with the set-up on Thursday morning but we made some changes in [midday] service and it felt better straight away. Unfortunately we hit a stone [in SS4] which meant that we couldn't take full advantage,” Ostberg lamented.
“Restarting on Friday, we set a really good pace. The speed was good and the car was working really well which meant we were able to climb right back up to seventh – so that was a good day for us.
“Today [Saturday] has been all about preserving the tyres for the Power Stage, but I couldn't really find a good rhythm. I tried to push [on the Power Stage], but I wasn't as confident as I had been the day before and had to settle for fourth.
“All in all, I think we have done some good stages, but with having to Rally 2 we weren't able to fight for a good result. We know that we have the pace though, so we will be back pushing for a good result in Greece.”
Ostberg's team-mates, Evgeny Novikov and Thierry Neuville meanwhile had better events, finishing fourth and fifth respectively, the former just missing out on the podium after a thrilling final day scrap with Jari-Matti Latvala [see separate story
“We have seen some impressive drives from our young crews this weekend with both Mads and Evgeny capable of challenging for the podium,” summarised team principal, Malcolm Wilson. “With Mads' stage win yesterday, he has also now taken a fastest time from all of the events this season.
“I think that we have seen a positive step in terms of all three drivers' development this weekend and I have no doubt that their time will come.
“The [Ford] Fiesta RS WRCs have also performed faultlessly all weekend. We've had 100 per cent reliability on an event which is extremely hard on the cars, so that is also a big positive for the team,” Wilson added.