Qatar M-Sport World Rally Team driver Mads Ostberg has admitted it was a 'big shame' to go off on day three of Rallye Deutschland, especially as he was on course for a 'really strong fifth place'.
Ostberg had been in P5 since the third stage and had over 2 minutes in hand on Martin Prokop in sixth.
However when the heavens opened for the second pass yesterday [Saturday], he fell foul to the horrendous conditions, sliding off the road just over five kilometres into Stein & Wein 2, SS12.
He will now re-start under the Rally 2 regulations today [Sunday], albeit down in ninth place.
“It was so slippery on SS12 and we just slid off the road. We lost the back end of the car about five kilometres into the stage and got pulled down into a ditch,” Ostberg recalled. “There was hardly any damage to the car and it would have been no problem to continue, but we were completely stuck. We tried with the spectators to get the car back on the road, but it just wasn't moving at all.”
“Obviously it's a big shame because we were in a really strong fifth place,” he added. “But this is rallying and these things happen – we'll just have to come back tomorrow [Sunday] and drive our best.”
Ostberg wasn't the only driver in trouble in SS12, as Volkswagen's Jari-Matti Latvala also retired, while Qatar team-mate Thierry Neuville went off and damaged his exhaust. He was able to continue, however.
Nasser Al-Attiyah meanwhile went out in the previous test, SS11, when he hit a rock and damaged the steering on his Fiesta RS WRC. He had been running in seventh in the #6 Qatar World Rally Team entry.
“We hit a stone on the inside of a tight 90-degree junction on SS11 and unfortunately that was the end of the day for us,” he stated.
“It was a real disappointment because we were on course for another strong result and the car and Michelin tyres were both working really well.”