Qatar M-Sport World Rally Team driver Mads Ostberg
has revealed he has found a good set-up for Rallye Deutschland.
The Norwegian bounced back in Finland last time out and took a confidence boosting podium finish.
Now after a 'really good test' he is optimistic about his chances in Trier: “Our confidence is high after Finland and we know that we have the pace and the car to challenge for the top results,” stated the Crash.net columnist
ahead of the ninth round in the 2013 World Rally Championship. “We had a really good test [with the Fiesta RS WRC] and I'm really pleased with the set-up we found so I am really looking forward to getting back to asphalt.”
Although Scandinavians may traditionally favour gravel, Ostberg has improved his asphalt performance of late and secured a career-best fourth on Rallye Deutschland in 2012.
“I think we've really improved our performance on asphalt. We made a good step last year and I hope we can continue that development,” he confirmed.
“We've changed our driving style slightly and I think that will really help us on tarmac,” he added.
Despite that though, he is aware Germany is a rather unique challenge and probably the most difficult seal-surface event of the season: “Of course Germany is a very tricky event. It's important to be able to change rhythm quickly,” he explained. “Although the stages are quite similar in some ways with lots of junctions and changes of direction, the character of the tarmac is constantly changing – from vineyards to concrete and forests to open roads – and you need to be able to adapt to this.
“You can't read the road in Germany as you can at other events [either] so pacenotes are also really important. They need to be spot-on for every stage and you need to really concentrate and listen to your co-driver.”
Team-mate Evgeny Novikov
meanwhile was also encouraged by his pre-event test and while he has only done Rallye Deutschland once, the Russian isn't too concerned.
“We have had a good couple of days testing and both Ilka [Minor, co-driver] and I feel well prepared for the challenges ahead,” Novikov stated. “Yes, I've only competed in Germany once before so I don't know the stages as well as some of the other competitors. But that said, it is an event I really enjoy.
“It's a really difficult rally to get right, but I love the challenge. I think the most difficult aspect will be the cuts that form throughout the weekend. A lot of junctions mean the rally doesn't 'flow' as much as other asphalt events and I think we can all expect it to be very dirty and slippery on the second pass.”
“There are a lot of things to take into consideration on this event and you need to run quite a clever rally. You need to think about tyres because we don't get an unlimited supply and a wrong choice can lose you a lot of time. Then the weather will also play a big factor,” he summed-up.