Mads Østberg has pulled out of this week's ADAC Rallye Deutschland [17 - 20 August] because of an ongoing technical problem with his car.
The Norwegian was due to join the hotly-contested WRC 2 class in Germany, but withdrew his entry on Sunday (13th) a week after his Ford Fiesta R5 suffered power-steering failure at a warm-up event in Poland. [Read more here]
Østberg and Swedish co-driver Patrick Barth were leading the European Championship Rally Rzeszow when the unit failed.
"It was scary because it happened suddenly when we went into a very fast corner." Mads explained. "Without the power assistance the steering effectively became almost locked, and I just about managed to wrestle the the car through the corner at nearly 180 km/h. We didn't manage to fix the steering and had to withdraw."
The Fiesta, run by Østberg's family-owned Adapta team, is two generations older than the latest R5 model and cannot be fixed in time for this week's WRC clash.
"We can update mechanicals, but there will be issues with the software that we can't change on such short notice. We cannot control 100 percent that this will not happen again, until we have further updates. We have chosen not to start in Germany," Mads said.
A no-show in Germany will delay Østberg's appointment of a permanent replacement for co-driver Ola Fløene, after the two parted company last month.
Østberg has organised trials with three contenders. He was co-driven by Torstein Eriksen at Neste Rally Finland, while Barth partnered him at Rally Rzezow. It was planned that Sweden's Emil Axelsson would call notes for Mads in Germany.
Østberg said: "Torstein did a great job in Finland and Patrick delivered on the stages we drove in Poland. Emil was the third candidate, and now we must find another solution to continue the evaluation process. The three guys are all possible candidates for a permanent seat."
Mads' next championship appearance will be at RallyRACC Catalunya - Rally de España in October.