Tuesday | 27 Oct 2015

Østberg: ‘my best asphalt performance'

Mads Østberg believes his final day showing at RallyRACC Catalunya – Costa Daurada was his strongest-ever asphalt performance as an FIA World Rally Championship driver.

The Norwegian spent much of the Spanish event battling with Citroën team-mate Kris Meeke but when the Briton spun on Sunday morning’s second stage and lost valuable seconds, Østberg was handed the advantage and was able to move ahead into fifth place.

But with four stages still to run and a slender advantage of only 7.5s to protect, Østberg knew he needed to be at his best on Spain’s asphalt roads – his least favourite surface – if he was to keep Meeke at bay.

But a faultless and determined drive through the remaining 50.30km of stages allowed Østberg to resist Meeke’s fierce challenge and eventually take fourth place at the finish, an important 1.9s ahead of his team-mate.

“During the race we have been faster and faster and today (Sunday) has probably been my best day on tarmac ever,” Østberg admitted. “It was a good internal fight with Kris and I’m happy I beat him.

“Kris is a very, very good tarmac driver and to see that we can fight with him is nice. I’m very pleased with my day.”

Finishing fourth and fifth in Catalunya has strengthened Citroën’s grip on runner-up spot in the 2015 manufacturers’ championship. The French manufacturer has now turned its attention to putting on a similarly strong performance at next month’s Wales Rally GB, the final round of the WRC season, to seal the position.

Team principal, Yves Matton said: “Rally Catalunya was very important at this stage of the season. Both our drivers managed their race perfectly by keeping in mind how vital it was to score points for the manufacturers’ championship.

“We now look to Wales Rally GB, with its very special surface, where we will aim to finish the job.”

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