Citroen's Mads Ostberg thinks he can be fast on Rally Italia Sardegna this week and the Norwegian has said he is hoping to 'mix it with the leaders'.

Ostberg had a difficult event in Argentina last month, crashing out in the opening stage on the Friday, before having to withdraw on the final day after getting a bad kick back through the steering on his right hand.

Despite not scoring there though, he remains upbeat and will be focused on trying to get his third podium of the season in Sardinia, an event he has considerable experience of. Indeed he has competed on it every time since it joined the WRC calendar in 2007, last year finishing eighth, while he was fourth in 2012 and fifth in 2011.

Related Articles

"I have done pretty well at this event over the years and I have some good memories of racing here," said Ostberg. "The route is very technical and the grip level varies on the different runs. It is particularly important to take good pace notes here. You have to be able to adapt your pace when conditions on the stages change."

During recent tests in Sardinia, Ostberg was able to work on the set-up of his Citroen DS3 WRC and he was encouraged by what he found.

"We found solutions that should enable us to be even more competitive on this kind of surface," he revealed. "I think we can be fast in Sardinia and I have quite a lot of experience at the event. So I'm going to push a bit harder from the start to try to get among the frontrunners. The target, as always, is to finish on the podium but I'm hoping to mix it with the leaders."

Citroen deputy team principal Marek Nawarecki added: "To prepare as effectively as possible, we ran a test session on the island on roads that were very similar to those we'll face in the rally itself. By combining our experience and the feelings of Mads and Kris [Meeke - his team-mate], we were able to improve the set-up of the Citroen DS3 WRC.

"Both our drivers seem very happy with the handling and balance of their car. That's our aim: give them the opportunity to express themselves on the stages."

"It [Sardinia] is a tough event, but that is true of every World Rally Championship round," he continued.

"We are looking [now] to harness the full potential of the car and the drivers and our objective is the same in Sardinia. The work done on developing the Citroen DS3 WRC enables us to meet the expectations of our drivers. Mads has a lot of experience in Sardinia, whereas Kris is more familiar with this rally than the ones earlier in the season.

"These are strengths of which we must take advantage," Nawarecki concluded.