Monte driver report: part 1
How did the top drivers fare in the WRC’s season opener?
Returning to an M-Sport Ford Fiesta RS after two seasons at Citroën, Norway’s Østberg [main picture] was the more successful of the pair and matched his best Monte finish of fourth on his first rally alongside new co-driver Ola Fløene.
"Mads did the perfect rally - and exactly what we expected him to do," Wilson told wrc.com. "This isn't a rally he likes, but he drove sensibly and came away with a good result and a lot more understanding at a time when he has much to learn. He's fitted in well with the team. As a driver I think he has matured a lot since he was last with us and he brought some good ideas to the table."
The team's second new signing, 28-year-old French rising star Eric Camilli, fared less well however. After impressing with a strong run through Friday's fourth stage, he retired on the fifth after going off at the same icy corner that caught out Robert Kubica, Hayden Paddon and Elfyn Evans.
"For Eric this one was short and sweet. It's not often on a rally that an accident is caused by going too slowly - but that's what happened," Wilson explained.
"He was being so careful on the snow that when he accelerated he paid a heavy price. It was a schoolboy error and I don't think he'll ever do it again.
"Okay, it's a shame he didn't get so much experience, but the potential was there for everyone to see on Stage four when he was fifth-quickest on only his fourth stage in a WRC car. I'm pleased that I saw the performance he is capable of."