Ford privateer Mads Ostberg believes he is now ready to start challenging for wins in the WRC.
Although the Norwegian has already taken his maiden victory in the World Rally Championship, having inherited it in Portugal earlier this season, when Mikko Hirvonen was excluded, speaking following Rally Italia Sardegna last weekend, where he took fourth, he added that he thinks he is now getting to the level whereby he can take on the established drivers, such as Hirvonen, as well as of course, Sebastien Loeb, Jari-Matti Latvala and Petter Solberg, and give them a run for their money.
His fourth place in Sardinia meanwhile saw him maintain a sequence of results that has seen him finish in the top-five in every WRC event he has contested in 2012.
The result also puts him back in third place in the 2012 WRC drivers' standings, and ahead of both of the Ford works drivers, Latvala and Solberg - a great achievement, especially as he had to sit out Monte Carlo and New Zealand due to budgetary constraints.
Ostberg could easily have been on the podium in Sardinia too, but for a rear differential failure on Friday afternoon, which cost him over 3.5 minutes.
As it was though, he still managed P4 after a brilliant drive on the Saturday, when he won four of the day's six stages in his Adapta World Rally Team Ford Fiesta RS WRC car.
“There has been a lot of ups and downs this weekend, but generally I would say that I am very pleased with the way we have performed. OK, we have had some bad luck, but I am really happy to have been able to fight back up to fourth position,” Ostberg commented.
“I think that we have done a lot of good stages so I am pleased with that. We just have to take the positives from it and see that we are able to win stages and perform on the top level.
“If everything is working, I think it is possible for us to fight for the victories now,” he concluded.