Mads Ostberg has admitted that inheriting his first World Rally Championship win following the exclusion of a rival took some of the gloss off the achievement.
The young Norwegian finished second on the road in the Vodafone Rally de Portugal behind Mikko Hirvonen, but was promoted when the Citroen factory driver was excluded for running a clutch which did not comply with the regulations. Although Citroen Total World Rally Team has appealed the exclusion, meaning that the results remain provisional for a further seven days, Ostberg felt confident enough to describe the emotions he felt at hearing news of his elevation to the ranks of WRC event winner.
“Of course, we are very happy with the win, but it is not the way we wanted to take it and I am very disappointed for Mikko as he did a fantastic job all weekend," he admitted magnanimously, "But we had a really good rally ourselves and we will definitely be celebrating our 'second' place."
Keeping his composure throughout the four days of competition, Ostberg thrived behind the wheel of his Ford Fiesta RS WRC in the tricky conditions, putting himself in pole position to benefit when none of the four leading manufacturer-entered drivers were classified at the end of the event.
"Our pace was good and I felt as though we were always in control," he revealed, “We have had a great start to the season and are now in a very good position in the [drivers'] championship. We won't be aiming for a podium in Argentina but, once we return to more familiar events, we'll certainly be pushing for more.”
Despite missing the first round of the season, Ostberg now lies third in the drivers' standings, just nine points adrift of factory Ford driver Petter Solberg in second, and 13 from the lead.