Following an accident during the event recce, Mads Ostberg and Jonas Andersson have been forced to withdraw from the 2015 Rally Australia, and will be replaced by Stephane Lefebvre and Stephane Prevot.
Ostberg was involved in a road accident during the first day of the pre-rally preparations. “We collided head on with a truck, which was also driving on the wrong side of the gravel road,” he explained. “We simply couldn’t avoid it. Fortunately, the car’s safety features did their job.
“We tried to continue with recce, but it would be impossible for us to compete properly and safely in the rally. We have therefore pulled out on the grounds of force majeure. We’re very disappointed, because we believed we would be competitive and could fight to regain third place in the Drivers’ World Championship.”
Ostberg came away from the accident with two cracked ribs, whilst Andersson suffered from extensive bruising, but they were lucky to escape with no more injuries.
“I feel very sorry for Mads and Jonas, because we’re all part of a big family at Citroën Racing. I hope they’ll be back to full fitness very quickly,” added Stéphane Lefebvre. “I have never driven the DS 3 WRC on gravel so I’m expecting it to be a tough weekend.
“Ordinarily, I prepare for a rally several weeks in advance by watching on-board camera footage from previous years to get a feel for the stages. I won’t be able to do that here, but all experience is welcome and I’m grateful to Citroën Racing for having put their faith in me. I’ll be treating this first rally with the respect it deserves, to try and meet the target set for me by the team.”