Qatar M-Sport World Rally Team leader Mads Ostberg has admitted he will need to 'push more' and 'take more risks' if he is to challenges for wins and keep up with Sebastien Ogier in the wake of the Frenchman's dominant victory on Rally Sweden.
Ostberg went into the second round in the 2013 FIA World Rally Championship looking to battle for his first proper WRC win. However his bid for victory was derailed early on when his Ford Fiesta RS WRC car suffered a water leak in Friday's first stage. The Norwegian was forced to turn mechanic on the liaison to SS3 and incurred a 20-second penalty for a late check-in due to his delays. That put the youngster on the back-foot, and while frustrated, he then put in a great charge and fought his way back from fifth to third overall by the end of the second day.
Embarking on a nail-biting battle with last year's victor, Jari-Matti Latvala, for third position on the final day, Ostberg had the edge and continued to control his pace perfectly, claiming a string of competitive times - including a stage win on SS21 and the final point on the end-of-event Power Stage - to confirm his third successive podium on Rally Sweden after finishing third in 2012 and second in 2011.
“It was quite tricky today,” Ostberg stated. “We were struggling a bit on the first stages – especially on the narrow stuff. I was just not happy with the balance of the car and didn't trust the front so we lost a bit of time there. But then on the wider sections we managed to take some time back.
“We made a few small changes after the first few stages and eventually we found a set-up that helped and were able to really take some time out of Jari-Matti which was important.
“[Overall] I am pleased with the way we have fought back after all the troubles on the first day. It was very disappointing for me and it was hard work to find the next gear. But I think we have fought back to a reasonable position and scored some good points for the championship.”
Ostberg now moves up to third in the WRC drivers' championship with 24 points on the board, although he is effectively second and Ogier's biggest threat, as Sebastien Loeb is only doing four rounds this year.
Despite that though, the 25-year-old is under no illusions about the season ahead and he knows he will needs to produce some top results if he is to cut the 22 point deficit to Ogier.
“I have been driving too safely, I need to push more. I could see that here, you know we had one small moment [only].
“I need to take more risks and I definitely need to increase the risks to keep up with Ogier,” he confirmed.