Tuesday | 23 Feb 2016

Østberg primed for Canaries asphalt

A chance encounter during a New Year holiday 15 months ago has ended with Mads Østberg tackling the opening round of the FIA European Rally Championship in the Canary Islands next month.

The M-Sport World Rally Team star will drive a Ford Fiesta R5 in Rally Islas Canarias (10 - 12 March) in a private outing at the asphalt event. It starts just four days after the finish of the third round of the FIA World Rally Championship, Rally Guanajuato Mexico.

The 28-year-old Norwegian posted a picture on his Instagram page while staying at the Anfi del Mar resort in Gran Canaria which attracted the attention of one of the directors there, a rally competitor himself.

“We met for coffee and discussed competing in the rally and have been in contact since then. Finally it came together and everything has been organised for me, with a good sponsorship deal from Gran Canaria,” he told wrc.com.

Østberg’s Fiesta will be run by Spanish team RMC and he admitted the rally would be a mix of enjoyment and serious work.

“Yes, it’s a bit of both. It gives me the chance to get some asphalt experience and practice on that surface. It’s also an opportunity to have some fun in a nice holiday location, so we’ll mix it together.

“I want to win every rally I start but I know absolutely nothing about this one,” added Østberg, who will be partnered by regular co-driver Ola Fløene. Their first all-asphalt WRC event will be ADAC Rallye Deutschland (18 - 21 August).

Rally Islas Canarias is based in Las Palmas and features 12 stages covering 213km.

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