Mads Ostberg has warned it will be easy to make a mistake on the final day of Rally de Espana, when the action switches from asphalt to gravel.
The Qatar M-Sport World Rally Team driver finished eighth in France earlier this month in his Ford Fiesta RS WRC car, but with Spain a mixed surface event, he will be hoping that will give him an edge and after finishing fourth last year in Catalunya, will want to at least be in the top-five again.
“Our confidence on Tarmac is certainly improving. I felt that the driving was getting a lot better in France and we progressed really well until we hit some troubles on the final day,” said the Crash.net columnist
ahead of the penultimate round in the 2013 World Rally Championship.
“I'm hoping to carry on that development on this week [now] and just keep building the confidence with each new kilometre.
“I have some new 'sports' glasses for this event too. In France, it was the first time for me wearing glasses whilst driving for a really long time, so it took a while to get used to. I used them in testing last week and it was a lot better so I hope that will help us too.”
“I am really looking forward to the gravel stages on Sunday,” added the Norwegian. “It's a big change and a big challenge. With almost two full events and all the testing on Tarmac, we need to be able to adjust quickly to the change in grip and also the speed that we carry into the corners.
“When making such a dramatic switch from one surface to another, it is so easy to make a mistake.”
Team-mate Evgeny Novikov meanwhile was fifth in France and the Russian is eager to get a similar result this Sunday, although he agrees that switch to gravel on the last leg is an added complication.
“I like this rally, but it is completely different to the other events because we will be competing on both asphalt and gravel stages. The key is to keep the momentum high as you go into the gravel tests on the final day. You need to make sure your car is well set-up for all of the different stages and also that you are in the right frame of mind to tackle each surface,” he stated.
“We had quite a good rally in France, so I'm hoping that we will be able to continue our progress this week. In Australia, we just concentrated on getting through all the stages, but we increased the speed in France and got a good top-five result.
"I think that was the best we could have done that weekend, so we'll be looking to do at least the same again in Spain,” he concluded.