Ostberg, who claimed his maiden WRC victory on Vodafone Rally de Portugal in April, didn’t have the necessary funding available to contest the Auckland-based round. His absence meant he was unable to defend his third place in the drivers’ standings and will head to Neste Oil Rally Finland next month fourth in the table.
“It was very disappointing not being able to go to New Zealand,” said Ostberg. “Even though I was on holiday in France to try and think about something else, I followed all the stages online. It felt bad to miss out on the experience, and of course a position in the overall standings, but we have tried to make the best out of the situation.”
By missing New Zealand, Ostberg has been able to add two practice events to his schedule: he will contest the asphalt-based Rally Bohemia in Czech Republic this weekend, where he will use a Ford Fiesta RRC, before taking part on Rally Estonia the following weekend in the World Rally Car version of the machine.
“One good thing that came out of missing New Zealand was that it has allowed us to compete on Rally Bohemia this weekend,” said Ostberg. “We will also be competing on Rally Estonia and both these rallies should help us prepare for Finland and also the asphalt WRC rounds that are coming up.”