Qatar M-Sport World Rally Team driver Mads Ostberg has said he will be concentrating on getting through all the stages and securing a top-five result or higher on Rallye de France.
Ostberg finished ninth in Germany in August, the last WRC round on asphalt, and after a 'difficult' time in Trier, he is keen to do better this weekend and at least match what he managed in Alsace twelve months ago, when he brought his Fiesta RS WRC home in fifth.
“Germany was a difficult event for us, so it is important that we take what we learnt there forward to France. That will be the first task. Last year we were a lot faster in France though than we were in Germany so that is something to focus on,” said the Crash.net columnist
in the countdown to the eleventh round in the 2013 World Rally Championship
“The weather, however, is always key. If it rains, then there will be a lot of mud on the stages – which is what we saw last year. But even when the weather is fine it is a really challenging event so I think it will be an interesting rally with a lot of drivers going for victory!” he continued.
“For us, heading back to tarmac, I think we just need to concentrate on getting through all the stages and securing a top-five result or higher. A top-five finish will be a good result for us, and I don't want to hope for anything more until we see where our pace will be."
“This will also be Jonas [Andersson]'s [my co-drivers] 100th WRC event, so a big congratulations to him,” Mads added. “As well as having a lot of tattoos, he is also an extremely good co-driver.
"He has a lot of experience and has helped me a lot over the past four years. I only hope that I can bring him another 100 events!”
Team-mate Evgeny Novikov meanwhile will be eager to build on his solid performance on Rally Australia and prove again that he can finish events without incident.
“I am feeling really good ahead of this event. We proved in Australia that we can make it through all the stages without a mistake, so now we want to couple that with upping the speed and hopefully taking home a top-five result,” stated the Russian.
“France is one of my favourite Tarmac events. The weather though can make the event a real challenge, so we hope it will stay fine. The route is also quite technical so you need to have very good pacenotes and ensure that you have a clever recce.
"Fortunately, I have a very good gravel crew to help me throughout the event, so I hope it could be a good event for us,” he concluded.