Qatar M-Sport World Rally Team driver Mads Ostberg has said there are positives to take away from Rallye Deutschland, even if was a 'difficult' weekend.
Ostberg had been running in a strong fifth place in his Fiesta RS WRC car before he got caught out by the treacherous conditions on SS12 on Saturday and 'just slid off the road'
Although his car was fine, he was unable to continue and he had to re-start under the Rally 2 regulations on Sunday, eventually finishing in ninth place and salvaging two points.
“Well, considering the off on Saturday, finishing ninth isn't so bad at all! It has been a difficult weekend, but there are also some positives to take away. I think we improved throughout the rally and we have certainly learnt a lot along the way,” explained the Crash.net columnist
after round nine in the 2013 World Rally Championship.
“When we get a bit of distance and start to look at everything in a bit more detail I'm sure we will find out what to do. The car is good, we know that. This weekend I just needed the car to assist me more, but instead we ended up adjusting the set-up a bit too much and I struggled to match it with my driving style 100 per cent,” he added.
Ostberg is now hoping for better fortune when the championship heads to Australia in a few weeks time.
“I think now we need to concentrate on that – and getting back to gravel which I am really looking forward to!” he continued. “It will be a new event for us, but Jonas [Andersson, my co-driver] and I are used to new events so I don't think that will affect us too much. Hopefully there we can have a really good run and get back to the podium which is, ultimately, where we want to be.”
Team-mates Thierry Neuville, Evgeny Novikov and Nasser Al-Attiyah meanwhile had differing fortunes. Neuville was fighting for the win and put in a superb performance, before ultimately having to settle for second
, while Novikov and Al-Attiyah – just like Ostberg – were in the doldrums. Novikov went off in the very first stage on Thursday, before fighting his way back to tenth, and Al-Attiyah retired on Saturday when he hit a rock and damaged his suspension in SS11. The Qatari finished in 13th.
“I think it is fair to say that this has not been a good event for us. After the time loss on the first day, there was nothing left for us to fight for,” Novikov lamented. “We just had to concentrate on getting through all the stages and getting back into the points – we managed that, so that is one positive at least.”
“This is a really good event and I think we improved our tarmac driving a lot this weekend,” added Al-Attiyah, who was clearly a bit more positive. “Of course it was very disappointing with what happened yesterday, but we were setting some good times and on course for what would have been a really great result for us.
“[Overall] the team are working very hard and everything is going in the right direction. Thierry [Neuville] put in a great performance this weekend.
"OK, he could have won if everything had gone his way, but second is another brilliant result for him and we are all extremely proud of what he has achieved.”