Date of Birth:11 Oct 87
Car:Ford Fiesta RS WRC
WRC Debut:Sweden 2006
2012: Fourth in World Rally Championship with one win
2011: Sixth in World Rally Championship with two podiums
2010: Eleventh in World Rally Championship
2009: Eleventh in World Rally Championship. Norwegian Rally Champion
2008: Twenty-second in World Rally Championship. Norwegian Rally Champion
2007: Twenty-first in World Rally Championship. Norwegian Rally Champion
2006: Makes World Rally Championship debut. Second in Norwegian Rally Championship
Born at the tail end of 1987, Ostberg might be one of the youngest drivers in the WRC’s premier class but with 20 years of motorsport experience, he’s certainly no novice.
To squeeze in that amount of practice the Norwegian got things off to an early start, competing on motorbikes from the age of four, then progressing to karting. But before he reached double figures, Ostberg had decided that rallying was for him.
His first taste of competitive rallying came aged 13, when he co-drove his father Morten in a Subaru Impreza WRC. The pair competed together on national rallies for the next three seasons.
In the summer of 2004, aged 16, Ostberg made his debut as a driver. Not yet old enough to drive in Norway, his first rally was the Midsommerdansen in Sweden, which featured a special ‘education’ class for drivers aged 16-18. In 2004 and 2005 he started seven education class rallies and won six of them.
His world championship debut followed in 2006 when he took a Subaru Impreza WRC2003 to 31st in Sweden. He also tackled Norway’s candidate WRC round and entered the WRC events in Finland and Great Britain. Although he crashed in Finland, he came home 23rd in Wales and took the runner-up spot in the Norwegian championship.
Ostberg continued at the wheel of an Impreza in 2007, tackling six WRC rounds in a Prodrive-supported Subaru run by his family’s Adapta team. He claimed his first stage win in Sweden and his first point in Finland. Perhaps the highlight of his year was his capture of his first Norwegian title, which he achieved by winning all seven rounds.
A second Norwegian title followed in 2008 and while he made seven appearances in the WRC, recording a number of encouraging stage times, his programme was blighted by a series of crashes.
It was all change for Ostberg in 2009. His Adapta team upgraded to the hatchback Impreza, he parted company with long-term navigator Ole Kristian Unnerud and he also underwent corrective laser eye surgery in an effort to improve his vision, which he suggested had contributed to his high frequency of crashes.
Ostberg recruited his girlfriend, Veronica Engan, to co-drive him on a temporary basis and they were seventh on their first event together in Sardinia before Jonas Andersson came on board as a longer-term replacement for Unnerud. Following a seventh place finish in Greece they crashed out of their final three rallies together although a third Norwegian title offered some consolation.
For 2010, Ostberg tackled Rally Sweden in an ageing Impreza with the intention of switching to the Super 2000 World Rally Championship in a Peugeot 207. But the plan faltered and Ostberg reverted back to the Impreza before Henning Solberg invited him to drive his spare Fiesta S2000 on Rallye Deutschland where he impressed in 16th overall. He was back in his Impreza for Rally GB and it wasn’t long before he’d agreed a permanent switch to a Fiesta, albeit a World Rally Car version, for 2011.
He proved to be one of the revelations of 2011, leading in Sweden before eventually finishing a close second to factory Ford driver Mikko Hirvonen. Although it took the young Norwegian until the season-finale in Great Britain to emulate that performance he was a contender throughout and claimed a career-best sixth in the final drivers’ standings.
In 2012, he surpassed himself with a fourth place overall in the privately-run Adapta World Rally Team-run Ford Fiesta RS WRC, which included victory in Portugal. Indeed, Ostberg is so popular that the announcement that he is to drive for the Qatar M-Sport World Rally Team on all 13 rounds of the 2013 FIA World Rally Championship was voted the moment of 2012 in a poll of wrc.com visitors.