Qatar M-Sport World Rally Team man Mads Ostberg
has blamed a 'miscommunication' for his off on day one of Rally de Portugal.
Ostberg had made a strong start to the fourth round in the 2013 World Rally Championship and after setting the second best time in SS1, went quickest in SS2 to seize the lead from Volkswagen's Sebastien Ogier. However 13 kilometres into the second pass through Mu, he misheard a pace-note and carried too much speed into a left-hander rolling his Fiesta RS WRC.
Although he will now re-start today [Saturday] under the Rally 2 regulations, he is way back and in 56th position, over 10 minutes off a place in the top-ten.
“There was a communication problem between me and Jonas [Andersson, my co-driver],” Ostberg confirmed. “Whether I misheard or whether he misread we don't know because we haven't seen the onboard yet. But either way I thought it was a five-left-minus when actually it should have been a four-left-minus.
“I was far too quick into the corner and we hit the bank on the outside and rolled – once on the stage and then again on the escape-road where we landed on the roof.
“We pushed very hard on SS2 and I understood that I couldn't continue like that throughout the whole event so I adjusted the speed for SS3 and everything was working really well. I wasn't pushing too hard, it was just a communication problem. Even if you are just one degree wrong with a pacenote at that speed there is just nothing you can do.
“We will re-start tomorrow. There was no damage to the rollcage and apart from that the mechanics can change everything.
“I would say that it will be easier for me to win the lottery now though than it will be to win again here! For sure that is not possible but we'll try to do some testing tomorrow and any points we can get will be a bonus. Also we know now that it is not impossible to beat Ogier so that is a positive!”
Qatar M-Sport team principal, Malcolm Wilson meanwhile was disappointed to see his number one driver go out, although he remains convinced the Norwegian will win in 2013.
“Mads was setting a fantastic pace in the early stages. It's always hard to see one of our cars retire for the day, but when it retires from the lead it's especially difficult. Having said that, when you look at his pace from this morning – and from Mexico last month – it's clear that he has the speed to win rallies and I'm confident that he will deliver a victory this season,” Wilson added.