Østberg joins WRC 2 Pro battle
World Rally Championship regular Mads Østberg will make his WRC 2 Pro debut at Rally Sweden this week when he takes on title rivals including series leader Gus Greensmith.
After stints with the M-Sport Ford and Citroën factory teams, Østberg will tackle the WRC's premier support category in a Citroën C3 R5.
The Norwegian prepared for his home WRC round by contesting two national championship events, finishing second on snow at Rally Hadeland earlier this month. He arrived in Sweden fresh from a three-day test in Finland.
Ford Fiesta R5 driver Greensmith made history when he became the first WRC 2 Pro winner at Rallye Monte-Carlo, but the Brit will face a fresh challenge when he tackles a snow rally for only the second time, following a fifth place in WRC 2 at Rally Sweden in 2018.
Greensmith's M-Sport Ford team-mate Łukasz Pieniążek will make his season debut and also has limited experience of the wintry conditions. This will be the Pole's second start in Sweden and only his third rally with a four-wheel-drive car on snow.
The WRC 2 Pro line-up is completed by Skoda Motorsport drivers Kalle Rovanperä and Eerik Pietarinen, both in Fabia R5s.
Rovanperä is eager to make amends for a costly mistake on the opening stage at Rallye Monte-Carlo, while reigning Finnish champion Pietarinen won WRC 2 on his most recent appearance in Finland last year.
The privateer-only WRC 2 category boasts an 18-strong entry brimming with local talent.
Eleven of the drivers are from Sweden or Norway, including Junior WRC champion Emil Bergkvist, Patrik Flodin and experienced campaigners Henning Solberg and Eyvind Brynildsen.
Third in Sweden in 2017 and 2018, Ole Christian Veiby hopes to find a higher spot on the podium at the wheel of a VW Polo. Also in a Polo is Sweden's World RX champion, Johan Kristoffersson.
Last year's Sweden winner Takamoto Katsuta returns in a Ford Fiesta, while Russia's European Championship runner-up, Nikolay Gryazin prepared with a podium at Rallijs Sarna in Latvia last week.
Head to WRC+ to watch All Live from Rally Sweden, including every stage broadcast live, breaking service park news and expert studio analysis.
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