FIA World Rally Championship

Østberg: “Disappointed with Wales Rally GB pace”

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Mads Østberg enjoyed a steady 2016 Dayinsure Wales Rally GB, finishing eighth despite his co-driver suffering from a snakebite.

M-Sport driver Østberg brought the Fiesta RS WRC was seventh throughout the rally, but lost the position to Volkswagen’s Jari-Matti Latvala on the final day.

His run was uneventful except when his co-driver Ola Fløene suffered a suspected snakebite on Friday afternoon.

The Adder’s bite resulted in swelling to his left hand and left the Norwegian feeling unwell, ruining the rhythm of the pacenotes throughout Saturday’s stages.

Despite this, Fløene battled through and navigated his compatriot safely through the challenging stages before seeking medical attention at the mid-day regroup.

The swelling subsided and Fløene regained his rhythm enabling the pair to match the times of their nearest rivals Citroën’s Kris Meeke and Hyundai’s Dani Sordo.

Østberg had no answer over the recovering Latvala, who moved his Volkswagen Polo R WRC in the final morning ahead of the Norwegian and DMACK stable-mate Ott Tänak.

The Estonian showed the competitiveness of both the Fiesta and DMACK tyres by finishing second, four and a half minutes ahead of Østberg.

Despite this, Østberg said he had enjoyed the rally but was disappointed with his pace.

“It’s been an enjoyable rally with some really nice stages,” he said.

“ I feel as though we have been driving well and we’ve had a good rhythm through the stages but for some reason the times just weren’t coming.

He also elaborated on his co-driver unfortunate pre-Halloween scare.

“We also had a very strange moment yesterday when it looked as though Ola was bitten by a snake!

“His hand swelled, and he was acting very strangely – losing focus even on the stages which is not like Ola at all!

“Thankfully, we got him to the doctor and after some medicine and a bit of a break he was feeling much better.

“He’s been back to his best today, and we set some encouraging times, but we’ll be hoping to challenge much closer to the front in Australia.”

Østberg is hoping for a resurgence of his own when the World Rally Championship comes to a conclusion at Rally Australia next month.

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Sports Car and GT writer. Perhaps being named after James Hunt and Murray Walker (first and middle names) might have something to do with how I have always been motorsport obsessed. After failing to get int racing, I might as well write about it.
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