The Norwegian held a 3.9sec advantage over championship leader Sebastien Ogier before rolling his Ford Fiesta RS into retirement on the third stage, a repeat of the Mu test which opened the event this morning.
Neither Ostberg nor co-driver Jonas Andersson were hurt and the Scandinavian duo hope to return tomorrow under Rally 2 rules if their car can be repaired. Crucially, Ostberg believes the car’s roll cage was not damaged.
“I think I misheard a pace note or Jonas made a mistake, but I think it was me that misheard the note,” explained Ostberg. “I thought it was a ‘5 left minus’ but it definitely wasn’t.
“I entered the corner far too quickly, hitting a bank on the outside. We rolled off the road on the inside and landed on the roof down on the next road. It was quite a hard crash. We landed on the roof but half a metre more and we would have continued further down, so it was good we stopped there,” he added.
Ostberg admitted the accident had brought further frustration after a troubled start to the season.
“Yes, it’s frustrating. At the beginning of the season we had technical problems and my frustration has been quite big. But this time I had a perfect car and I messed up.
“We pushed hard on SS2 and decided to back off a little bit on this stage to make sure we got through it. We knew we had an advantage so we tried to control it. It was just a communication problem. I did not push too hard and I wasn’t on the edge,” he added.