Ostberg is braking
Citroen’s Mads Ostberg believes his driving is getting faster after confirming he has radically changed his approach to suit his DS3 WRC.
The Norwegian has driven M-Sport-prepared Fiestas for the last three years, but has found the transition to the DS3 WRC a challenge in his debut season with the French manufacturer.
Although he sits third in the drivers’ standings heading into next month’s Rally Argentina, Ostberg is planning to continue his experimentation with a new style of driving in a bid to make himself even more competitive.
“I’m really trying to adapt to the car. I’ve been in the Fiesta for three years and it’s quite a big step to go to the Citroen,” Ostberg told WRC.com.
“I tried to make the car (DS3 WRC) suit me by continuing to drive it a bit more sideways like I did with the Fiesta. But I understood that was not quite so easy and that the theory behind the Citroen is totally different.”
Ostberg has therefore taken to setting up his car in a similar way to multiple world champion Sebastien Loeb would have done when he drove the all-conquering DS3 WRC. Loeb’s set up made the handling characteristics of the car more neutral than Ostberg is normally used to and required him to brake straighter and much deeper into corners to get the car to turn in.
“You are driving much more on the front of the car and with more understeer,” Ostberg explained. “The car is much more stable and braking all the way into the corner gives the right pressure on the front wheels to be able to turn the car.
“It’s a special way of driving and for me, it’s improving all the time. It’s making me faster and faster.”
Ostberg will be hoping for dry conditions in Argentina because he says that the reduced grip associated with wet gravel roads makes it much harder to conquer his new driving style.