In Mads Ostberg's latest exclusive column on Crash.net, the Qatar M-Sport World Rally Team man looks back on Rally Italia Sardegna, where a late call from co-driver, Jonas Andersson, cost the pair dear...
So we have done another rally and once again luck wasn't on our side, although we did get points by coming home eighth on Rally Italia Sardegna – and that means we have scored at every round this year.
Of course the season to date hasn't gone as I had hoped - but all I can do now is to look ahead, and try to make the most of the remaining six events.
Going to Rally Italia Sardegna I felt positive. We had won in Norway, taking the victory on Rally Aurskog/Høland, the fifth round in the Norwegian Rally Championship, and it was really good to fun to compete there and finally have some fun in the Fiesta RS WRC, with everything just going smoothly.
Still during the recce I had that
feeling. I knew I was getting sick and sure enough, when I woke up on the Thursday for qualifying I had a fever and bad throat. I knew it would be difficult after that, although we qualified okay and were sixth.
Day one on Friday went well – initially. I was running fourth and the Fiesta RS WRC was working very well. Even with the illness, I felt I was doing okay. Then on the final stage on that opening leg we rolled in SS8. It was because of a late call from Jonas [Andersson - my co-driver]. He very rarely makes a mistake, but unfortunately this time there was nothing we could do. It wasn't a very big roll. It was over a crest with a tight left-hander straight afterwards. We just landed in an awkward place, upside down among some big rocks which caused the majority of the damage.
Of course it was very disappointing as we were in a good position fighting with Mikko [Hirvonen] and Thierry [Neuville] for second place. But Jonas and I are a team. Sometimes he makes a mistake, sometimes I make a mistake and sometimes neither of us do. Either way, we always stand by one another.
The M-Sport mechanics did an amazing job, however, to get the car back to near-perfect condition for the final day and both Jonas and I were very impressed with their work and dedication. They did a massive amount of work on the car – stripping it all down and doing repairs on the roll cage. This big job was pure passion – a great effort and they even managed to continue their work for the final day, without any sleep at all, now that's dedication!
It was important after that to get points for the team, and also for me. Luckily we managed it, climbing back from 14th to get P8.
We had hoped to score points in the Power Stage too, but that didn't happen. We actually came across a bull and had to take avoiding action to miss it - not ideal!
While the result wasn't what we were after, the event itself was good. I always enjoy Rally Italia Sardegna. The atmosphere was nice. Obviously we wanted more people and more action in the service park, but out on the stages there were actually quite a lot of spectators. I quite enjoyed the new two-day format too. It was two really long days and as I also had to deal with my illness it felt like the longest days ever! But still, it was positive and I hope Sardinia stays on the calendar and that rumours it will be dropped prove unfounded.
Talking of the calendar and schedule, we now have quite a few weeks break and that will allow me some time to recharge and be ready for Finland at the start of August. I am aiming to make the most of it and will be making the short trip to Crete for a bit of R&R. I will also be using the time to catch up with family and friends before getting back in the game in Finland.
We will do a bit of testing for Rally Finland and have a two-day test planned prior to it, which will hopefully put us in a really good position for that event.
Rally Finland is always fantastic and is something to relish as it is all about speed, jumps and lots of action. There is also always an amazing atmosphere. I really enjoy it, and I think it would be hard to find a driver who doesn't!
I've had points the last three years in a row there, so to do that again and be on the podium is my aim when we arrive in Jyväskylä.
That's all for now...Mads Ostberg
To keep tabs on the Qatar M-Sport World Rally Team's progress in 2013, simply follow this link: www.qatarmsportwrt.com