Ostberg fit and ready for Estonia battle
World championship ace confident of success on practice rally
Mads Ostberg says he’s fully fit and ready to repeat his auto24 Rally Estonia victory of 2011 when the event gets underway later today.
Ostberg, who claimed his maiden victory in the FIA World Rally Championship in Portugal earlier this year, was a doubt for the high-speed gravel event after he hurt his back when he crashed in shakedown for Rally Bohemia in Czech Republic last week.
The 24-year-old is using the Baltic rally to prepare for Neste Oil Rally Finland next month and will face opposition from several WRC rivals including Thierry Neuville and Martin Prokop.
“The accident itself was not that big but the impact was really hard and some of the discs in my back went out of position,” Ostberg told WRC Live’s Becs Williams in Estonia. “I had to do a lot of X-rays and scans but soon I understood it was not too serious and I felt quite quickly a lot better. I’ve done shakedown here and there were a few jumps. Although I could feel the landings quite well it was not too bad and it won’t be a problem to drive the rally this weekend.”
Ostberg will pilot the same Ford Fiesta RS WRC he uses in the world championship in Estonia and plans to make the most of the experience ahead of the WRC resuming in Finland from 2-4 August.
“The surface is softer than Finland so the grip level is different but you have the high-speed, the long crests and blind corners and it’s good to get used to driving flat out in sixth gear again,” said Ostberg.
In terms of his opposition in Estonia, Ostberg isn’t taking anything for granted despite his status as pre-event favourite.
“We know Neuville is very fast and Prokop can be quick as well,” said Ostberg, who will be co-driven by Jonas Andersson. “Also I know from last year that the local drivers are really quick but I think we will have to fight with Neuville to win this rally. He’s never beaten me before and I’m determined that won’t change this weekend.”
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