Mads Ostberg will be looking to secure his third podium of the season on Rally Australia next weekend.
The Qatar M-Sport World Rally Team driver was back to his best on Rally Telemark recently, the penultimate round of the Norwegian Rally Championship and after taking a dominant win is in good spirits as he heads 'Down Under'.
Australia will be a step into the unknown for the Norwegian, but he is used to the challenge of tackling new events and thanks to a precise pacenote system, won't let the limited experience hinder his goal of getting on the rostrum.
“It's always a big challenge going to a new event. We'll try to gather as much information as possible, but you can never know what the conditions are like until you are actually there. We just need to keep an open mind and concentrate on having a really good recce. Jonas [Andersson, co-driver] and I are used to making new pacenotes, however, so hopefully it won't be too much of an issue for us,” said the Crash.net columnist
“Also, from what I have seen and heard about the stages, I think they will suit my driving style. The gravel roads are very fast and flowing – which I like – so who knows, maybe it could be a perfect rally for us!”
“Of course it has been a long time since we have made a debut on a gravel event, so it is difficult to know exactly where we'll find ourselves,” he added. “But to be honest, we'll be going into this event with the same mindset we had for the other gravel events. When it comes to loose-surface rallies, we want to fight for the top positions and a podium is always the goal.”
Team-mate Evgeny Novikov meanwhile has done Rally Australia before - albeit only once - and his focus will be on getting his 2013 season back on track.
“I competed in Australia in 2011 and the stages are very fast and slippery. The last time we were there the weather was quite bad on the first two days so it was very difficult, but this year I think it will be a bit better. It's a challenging event, but one that I am really looking forward to,” Novikov continued.
“Road position will be important so we need to make sure we have a good run through the Qualifying stage. As I said, the stages can be very slippery so having a clean road will be a big advantage.
“I am very fortunate to have Ilka [Minor, my co-driver] next to me. This will be her sixth time competing in Australia and she has been on the podium twice.
"There is no question that her experience will be a benefit, but the most important thing for us will be to finish strongly with some good points.”