Thursday | 05 May 2016

Question Time: Mads Østberg

As the WRC prepares for Vodafone Rally de Portugal (18 - 22 May), we put M-Sport World Rally Team’s Mads Østberg into the hot seat to answer questions posed by fans on our Facebook page.

Here’s how the Norwegian handled the best of them:

Priit Arge: What other sports do you do in your free time?
MO: I play football, squash and badminton and I swim and cycle. I’m still quite young so I try to use my body as much as possible, doing different things helps to stay fit. It’s good motivation to try many things and try to get better. Other motorsports are fun as well, especially motocross, but I can’t really do some of them anymore because they’re too high risk. I have a motocross bike in my garage but it has stayed there nice and warm for some years now and I think it will stay there for some more.

Don Barbieri: You are a regular on WRC podiums, what is missing that is stopping you winning again?
MO: Good question. To win a world rally is a huge challenge. There are some really good drivers in what seems to be the best car at the moment. When you have the best driver and the best car you win many rallies, like Sébastien Ogier is doing. Beating him is a big, big challenge. I try to do my best all the time, to get better and find new ways to improve my driving and the way I work between rallies. You need to be the best driver, you need to have the best co-driver and you need to have the best car.

Michael Purvis: Why have we seen Super Banana written on your steering wheel?
MO: It started at a Sweden test in 2014 with Citroën. We tried some new suspension and I was really happy with my car. One of the mechanics told me that in France there is a saying that if you are really happy, you are a banana. We started from then on to say ‘banana’ every time we were happy. We had a laugh with the mechanics who put different pictures of bananas inside my car.

Mads Østberg makes a splash at YPF Rally Argentina last month

Jan Szwanda: What music do you listen to?
MO: I listen to my wife’s Spotify when she is not using it! I enjoy country music from time to time, especially with a beer.

Jan Siman: How do you feel in the audience when Beate (Østberg’s wife) sings?
MO: My wife is a singer with a band called Soul Town and when I have the possibility I go to her concerts. She comes to rallies with me and when I’m back home she’s the star and I’m the spectator. I really enjoy watching her and I get so proud.

Michael Flint: Before the F1 race in China, the drivers went out together for dinner. Does that happen in the WRC? Who do you think should pick up the bill?
MO: Yes, and Ogier should pay! Before rallies we spend most of our time with team-mates. You stay close to your hotel because there are so many things to do. Very often after a rally drivers go to the same restaurants and we bring the team as well so there are about 200 people!

John Tsoras: In what other motorsport would you like to compete apart from WRC?
MO: I would say off-road. I never tried it so it’s difficult to say, but Dakar and cross-country rallies are something I really want to do. Some stages when there’s not really a road and you are out in the open look amazing. I’m not sure if it is when you’re in a car bouncing around for six hours! Rallycross would be interesting as well. When I stop rallying I want to try other things.

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