Østberg secures career best fourth in Mexico
"Mads’ pleased, the team is pleased, everyone is pleased"
Rally Guanajuato Mexico gave Mads Østberg and co-driver Jonas Andersson a couple of challenges, but overall the duo finished a strong fourth in their Ford Fiesta RS WRC – one better than their fifth place last year, and their best ever performance in the Sierre Madre.
The rally started well for Østberg on Thursday evening as the Norwegian secured third place on the opening street stage in the picturesque town of Guanajuato. Throughout the second day he held the position and kept pushing. But when the third place slipped half way through Saturday’s stages and Jari-Matti Latvala kept his speed to a maximum, team Adapta changed tactic:
“We saw that something other than speed had to happen to beat him [Latvala]. The setup on the car wasn’t optimal and we changed something on every service. So rather than speed up and taking chances, we agreed to use the rally as a test,” said Morten Østberg, team manager of Adapta Motorsport World Rally Team.
Østberg and Andersson kept their speed throughout the weekend to maintain their fifth place. But during Sunday morning’s second stage, the WRC’s longest stage consisting of 54 kilometres, the pairing suffered a puncture. With Ott Tänak only 1:40 behind, the duo didn’t risk the time it would take to change the tyre and decided to keep on driving.
“There were a couple of dramatic minutes,” admitted Morten Østberg. “When you drive with a punctured tyre for so long things can happen to the car. Luckily for us, Mads managed to manoeuvre the car to the finish line without damaging the car at all.”
On the same treacherous stage, factory Ford driver Latvala rolled and was forced to retire from the event due to too much damage to his Ford Fiesta RS WRC. As a result, the second factory Fiesta of Petter Solberg climbed to third with Østberg fourth overall.
Østberg concluded Rally Mexico in style when he clinched third place on the final Power Stage to claim his first Power Stage point.
“Mads’ pleased, the team is pleased, everyone is pleased,” said a delighted Morten Østberg. “Mads has had a good rally giving him a lot of experience we can use in other rallies this year.”
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