Qatar M-Sport World Rally Team driver Mads Ostberg
has insisted he is 'okay' with what happened on Rally Italia Sardegna last weekend, despite yet more disappointment.
The Norwegian was looking well placed on the first day, and despite struggling with a fever, was running fourth overall, just 6.2 seconds behind team-mate and eventual runner-up, Thierry Neuville post-SS7.
However in SS8, the final test of the leg, he rolled his Fiesta RS WRC car two kilometres in on a deceptive left-hand corner after a crest.
That incident ended any hope of a podium, although he was able to re-start on Saturday under the Rally 2 regulations, thanks to the great work of his mechanics, and he duly climbed back up from 14th to 8th to claim four points, and maintain a run that has seen him score in every single event this season.
“Overall I'm quite okay with the result,” Ostberg wrote on his Facebook page after the event. “We have again showed some good pace, and without the roll on Friday evening I'm sure we would have finished quite high up the classification.
“And once again I have to send my biggest thank you's to my great team, who spend the night to put my car together again after I rolled it, I'm very grateful!
“See you all in Finland!”
Meanwhile, in the Qatar M-Sport WRT official post-event release, Ostberg revealed that he faced a rather unusual opponent on the final day...
“Towards the end of the Power Stage [the penultimate test of the event] – about two kilometres before the end – there was a bull with huge horns in the middle of the road. I had to brake to try to avoid it, but when I did that it just moved against me so I had to go even further off the road to miss it. It was really big so I didn't want to hit it because that would have been a hard impact for sure!” he recounted.
“Apart from that, the afternoon has been OK. We had a small issue with the rear suspension so for the last two or three stages it was quite difficult. But other than that, we didn't have so many dramas,” he continued. “We have had some good stages in this rally so we just have to keep that in our mind and make sure we bring the confidence and the self-belief with us to Finland.”
The result means M-Sport continues its record breaking streak of points finishes as a manufacturer entrant. M-Sport's manufacturer teams have now scored points on every single WRC event since the 2002 Rallye Monte Carlo – that's 165 and counting.
“I need to praise the M-Sport mechanics who did an absolutely fantastic job on Mads' car last night,” chipped in Qatar M-Sport boss, Malcolm Wilson. “They worked well into the night to make the repairs and, thanks to them, M-Sport can continue their unbroken record for the highest number of consecutive points scores in the WRC. It was a brilliant effort.”