Qatar M-Sport World Rally Team driver Mads Ostberg is targeting victory ahead of this weekend's Rally Portugal following his maiden career victory on the Algarve stages last year.
Given the impressive pace shown by the Fiesta RS WRCs in the three previous events, where Ostberg was a top-three contender, the Norwegian is confident he can repeat his 2012 win following a successful week of testing with the team.
“It's certainly possible to replicate our good result from last year,” said Ostberg in the M-Sport event preview. “We have had a really good test this week and looking back at our performance in Mexico, I know we have the pace to fight for the top positions”
Like his rivals, the M-Sport team leader conceded that the weather and nature of the Portuguese stages will play a part in the outcome of the event, but remained bullish of his victory chances.
“The long stages are always a challenge too and, as we saw last year, the weather can also play a key role,” he continued.
“Needless to say, I want to defend last year's result. We're hungry for victory and I want to win.”
Team-mate Evgeny Novikov is similarly encouraged by the Fiesta RS WRC's performance, but he – like his rivals - believes the weather conditions will determine the outcome of the rally.
“We will see if we can achieve a good result like last year, but as always it all depends on a lot of different things,” said the Russian.
"As we saw last year, this spring-time event can bring some very tricky weather conditions! I hope this will be the case again because I really enjoy those tricky conditions!”
In 2012, Novikov became the first Russian and youngest ever driver to stand on the WRC podium during the Portuguese event.
By George East