The Norwegian opened his WRC2 title defence with an assured victory in Zagreb last month. Driving the latest-specification Citroën C3 Rally2, Østberg took matters into his own hands to make sure he was running the absolute latest specification for the all-asphalt event.
The weekend before Croatia Rally, Østberg completed a Tarmac test, then drove the car on the Therwoolin Boldogko Rally in Hungary. He found a feeling he liked at the test and wanted to replicate it in competition.
Østberg said: “When we finished [the test] and I came from the car, and I said to the guys: “Can you please take off these dampers – I’m bringing them with me.”
“They did that. They took off the dampers and packaged them up for me to put into my luggage, then I took them on the plane with me in my own bag. Luckily, I have a gold card, so the airline was OK with the extra weight!”
And the dampers worked a treat on the bumpy mountain roads around Zagreb.
“They worked very well,” added the former Rally Portugal winner. “I’m happy with the car, everything was good for us. OK, there was a brake problem on the final day, but we know what caused that (not pre-bedding the brakes) and we know this won’t happen again.
“We know the car is performing really well on Tarmac, but we thought this rally would be a challenge to us. It was looking more bumpy and with the Citroën we don’t have too much experience with these bumpy and narrow and muddy roads. But it was good. Really good.”