Mads Østberg will miss the next round of the World Rally Championship, Rally Mexico to avoid the chance of missing his son’s birth.

Norwegian Østberg, who finished fifteenth on Rally Sweden last weekend, and his wife Beate are expecting their first child and the privateer Ford driver doesn’t want to be away from the birth of their son. He said: “We have planned this a long time ago. I will not risk being away on another content when Beate is having our first child. We already know it’s a boy and he will be named Mons. My next rally will be Tour de Corse at the beginning of April.”

After a strong start in Sweden where he was the quickest Ford driver after the opening four stages, Østberg’s rally hit issues thanks to technical problems and the loss of the rear wing on his 2017-specification Fiesta WRC.

Despite the setbacks, he was pleased with the progress made by his team but did admit: “For sure, we need more millage and we will be concentrating on doing some test work before the next rally. This is especially important as the next event is on tarmac and so far I have just driven the car a few kilometres on that surface during a test in France before Christmas.”

He added: “We can see from the splits in Sweden that we have been quite competitive on the technical parts of the stages, but I need a bit more confidence to actually trust and use the aerodynamic possibilities the car gives me in the really fast sections. But I am now positive and definitely enjoyed driving the new and very fast WRC car.”

After missing Rally Mexico, Østberg will instead turn his attention to the Che Guevara Energy Drink Tour De Corse in France between April 4-6.