M-Sport’s Mads Østberg is happy be back on gravel at the 2016 Dayinsure Wales Rally GB, after the recent tarmac rounds.
Despite having learnt some new skills on the sealed surface events, Østberg is relishing the return to gravel especially to one of his favourite events.
The Norwegian has contested the rally on 10 previous occasions, with his best result of second with the Ford Fiesta RS WRC in 2011.
This wealth of experience, as well containing terrain similar to that of his homeland puts Østberg in good stead for the event.
“There is something special about Wales Rally GB. The stages really are fantastic. They’re so fast and smooth and you can get into a really good rhythm. They’re actually quite similar to some of the stages we find in Norway, so I definitely feel at home in Wales.
“The key is to feel comfortable and confident in the tricky conditions, and that’s what we’ll be aiming to do.”
Østberg feels that he and M-Sport have a better chance of challenging for top-three results now that they are back on gravel.
“It feels good to be going back to gravel and we really want to be back challenging for the podium. I’ve always enjoyed these stages and I’ve been competitive on them too. I’ve been on the podium twice before, and the aim is to be in a position to fight for those top positions again this year.”
He also reckons that the earlier date for the rally may lead to better weather conditions.
“The event is a little earlier so we could actually see a dry rally which would be amazing. I’ve done the rally in the dry once before and it was brilliant.
“But whatever the weather, I really don’t mind, I’m just looking forward to throwing the car into those fast gravel corners!”