9 March 2015
WRC Rally Mexico: Second place boost for Ostberg
Citroen's Mads Ostberg claims his first podium of the 2015 WRC season on Rally Mexico
Citroen's Mads Ostberg says his second place finish on Rally Mexico will give him confidence for the rest of the 2015 WRC season.
Ostberg was disappointed to slip from fourth to tenth last time out in Sweden and initially looked like he was in for another tough weekend when spun in the opening test on Friday – a result of the same gearbox problems that afflicted him in Sweden.
But he came back, and despite a mistake in SS13 on Saturday, that allowed Andreas Mikkelsen to close up, held on to take second, finishing 6.3 seconds ahead.
“I'm pleased to have shown that I was capable of maintaining a very strong pace throughout the rally,” said Ostberg, who won three stages in total. “Second place is an excellent result for the debut gravel outing of the 2015-spec DS 3 WRC.
"It will give us confidence for the rest of the season. We have to keep working and build on these foundations to improve further.”
Speaking in the post-event press conference, the Norwegian admitted that he felt under pressure coming to Mexico.
“It was quite a lot of pressure coming into this event,” he confirmed. “It has not been a good start to the season [for the team or me after finishing fourth in Monte Carlo and tenth in Sweden]. The pressure was then even harder when Kris [Meeke – my team-mate] went off [in SS4] and we had no chance other than me to get to the end.
“I wanted to push and get to the end. I had never been able to get to the end here before without problems, but I found a nice rhythm and had no big issues and am very pleased to be the meat [in the Volkswagen sandwich]. After a couple of [more] podiums [now], I feel I could push harder.”
Ostberg was initially very agitated with the problems on Friday morning, but was more philosophical at the finish.
“Friday's issues with the car were the same problems we had in Sweden. That's the way it is with a new car,” he remarked. “Some things were not working but we found the problems. I was angry and had to work with myself to go through the stages without making mistakes. Then, at service they fixed the car and it was working fine.”
As for his error on Saturday, he conceded it was just that: “Obviously I did a mistake and we lost 17 seconds. We had a gap, but then it was not so big any more [just 9.7s] and Andreas got the smell of the meat and he increased his speed a bit. We had to be clever.
"You really want to push to defend your lead. I think we managed our pace well to win [that battle for P2]. Andreas had the same approach.”
Meanwhile, Citroen deputy team boss, Marek Nawarecki was pleased to see Ostberg finish on the podium, although he was less happy with Meeke after the Briton crashed out near the start of the second 'proper' test.
“The rally ends on a very positive note. The car has proven once again that it is competitive and Mads has shown consistency in managing to keep out of trouble on this tricky Mexican course,” Nawarecki noted.
“We are a bit disappointed with Kris, because he made a mistake at the start of the rally. Overall, though, the performances were good, although we would have liked to score more points.
“It nevertheless augurs well for the rest of the season!”
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