Mads Ostberg has blamed the wrong tyre choice for his problems in SS8 of Rally de Espana this morning, something that cost him the lead.
Ostberg finished the opening day with a 27.2 second advantage in his Adapta World Rally Team-run Ford Fiesta RS WRC car, and while he didn't lose too much time in SS7, the first test of the day, it all went wrong in the long 45.97 km El Priorat 1 stage. Indeed after an off road excursion he finished the test more than a minute off the pace, dropping to third overall.
Although he then bounced back in SS9 and was third quickest, he now lies 29 seconds off Jari-Matti Latvala in second and only 8 seconds up on Mikko Hirvonen in fourth.
Speaking in the mid-day service halt, the Norwegian was clearly frustrated, especially as he needs a strong result if he is to stay ahead of Latvala and hang on to third place in the drivers' championship.
“Today was all about controlling the gap to Jari-Matti and I'm not controlling that anymore, so it was not the best of mornings for us,” he remarked.
“For sure it has been difficult. I chose the wrong tyres for the long stage [SS8] which lost us a lot of time. Also I made a few mistakes and went off the road so we lost even more time. Quite a bad morning for us.
“I think it will be difficult to catch Jari-Matti now. He is going really well and it will depend a little bit on what his plan is.
“If he continues pushing to take [Sebastien] Loeb then it might be difficult, but if he is thinking more about the championship then it could be possible. I think we will just have to wait and see how it develops throughout the rally.
“I think a lot will come down to the Power Stage [and who scores what there], but there is a long way to go before we are there. We will just continue pushing and see what we can do.”