Wednesday | 08 Jun 2016

Test gives Østberg gear shift hope

Mads Østberg hopes to put a recent run of mysterious gear shift problems behind him on this week's Rally Italia Sardegna after his M-Sport team reported 'promising' developments at a pre-event test.

Back in a Ford Fiesta RS this year after two seasons with Citroën, Østberg has been troubled on gravel events by a gearbox he doesn't feel shifts consistently.

But as the championship reaches its sixth round, M-Sport says a recent test has shed new light on the issue.

“It’s no secret that he’s been struggling for confidence with the down shifts when the grip levels are low. We’ve been working to find a solution and the findings on our recent pre-event test proved promising," explained team boss Malcolm Wilson.

"We continued developing these findings over the remainder of the test and hopefully that will help Mads in Sardinia.”

Lying third in the drivers' standings, just one point ahead of Hyundai rival Hayden Paddon, Østberg admitted he was eager to get the issue resolved.

“We’re getting into the main part of the season now and we all want to deliver more speed in the events to come," he said.

"Since Portugal, we’ve not been standing still. We’ve had a lot of discussions internally and we tried some new things during the pre-event test which were quite promising so we’ll be hoping to build on those findings this week."

Last weekend Østberg received a confidence boost on home ground when he won the fifth round of the Norwegian Rally Championship, the Aurskog-Høland Rally, at the wheel of a Ford Fiesta R5 Evo.

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