Following the recent announcement that Citroën Total Abu Dhabi WRT would be dropping number one driver Kris Meeke there has been speculation over who would be taking over the full time drive for the remainder of the season, today the French manufacturer announced that Mads Østberg will be filling that role alongside Craig Breen.
Pierre Budar, Citroën Racing Team Principal explained the reason behind the choice, and the current outlook for the team, “We are now entering a rebuilding phase, already partly looking ahead to 2019, but before that, we have to finish this season as well as possible.
“And Mads, both due to his experience of the world championship and with the C3 WRC, can undoubtedly help us to move forward in a calm, relaxed manner.
“He is consistent and that is reflected in the many minor places he has collected at almost all the events. He has also settled back into the team very smoothly.”
Østberg who has been out of a full time drive since the end of 2016 expressed his excitement with the new role, “I’m delighted to have the opportunity to continue competing for Citroën Racing! It was really great to be back with the team for these first three rallies, having previously worked together a few years ago now.
“I’m honoured by the trust that the brand and Pierre have placed in me. I’ll be giving everything I can to pay them back in the best possible way at the next few rallies, especially as I’m starting to become familiar with the C3 WRC now and Rally Finland is coming up soon, my favourite weekend of the season!
“I’m convinced that we have all the qualities required to do well on these five additional appearances.”
Østberg wont be driving in Spain though, as Sébastien Loeb will return for his third and final appearance of the year in the WRC, after competing in Mexico and Corsica. Khalid Al Qassimi will drive a third C3 WRC in Finland, Turkey and Spain.