Following the news that M-Sport will team up with the State of Qatar
for the 2013 World Rally Championship, the company has confirmed Mads Ostberg as one of its lead drivers'.
Ostberg will contest all 13 rounds of next year's championship with the new 'Qatar M-Sport World Rally Team'.
The Norwegian, who has been a regular on the world stage since 2006, shone this season in his Adapta WRT-run Ford Fiesta RS WRC, finishing in the top-five on every single WRC event he contested, including winning in Portugal (after Mikko Hirvonen was excluded), as well as taking podiums in Argentina and Sweden. In the end he impressively finished fourth overall in the drivers' championship, just 5 points off ex-Ford World Rally Team works driver, Jari-Matti Latvala, despite only taking in eleven of the 13 events.
“I am really happy to have been chosen to join the team and continue working closely with M-Sport next season,” said Ostberg, who missed out to Dani Sordo
on the drive with the Citroen Total WRT.
“We've been working with the Ford Fiesta RS WRC for two years now – we know the car and we know the team so from the technical side of things, I think we will be in a really good position as there won't be too much of a change to get used to.
“But from the other side of things, it will still be a big challenge – albeit a big step in the right direction! This season has been really good for us, and I hope we can continue that into 2013. I am really looking forward to next season, and I can't wait to get back behind the wheel and start testing with the team in the next couple of weeks.
“This is a great opportunity for me. I have had many dreams in my career, but achieving this drive is definitely one of the biggest and I am certainly going to try and make the most of it.”
M-Sport managing director, Malcolm Wilson meanwhile is confident Ostberg can do well in 2013.
“Mads' performance this year has been very impressive,” Wilson added. “He has always had the speed, but his progression on Tarmac and the maturity he has demonstrated this season proves that he is ready to make the next step in his career and made him the ideal candidate to join the team in 2013. He has an old head on young shoulders and I am confident that we will see some strong performances from him as he rises to the challenge next year.”
The other full-time driver for the new Qatar M-Sport World Rally Team has still to be announced, although Nasser Al-Attiyah will do seven events in a third Qatari liveried Ford Fiesta RS WRC.