Østberg drives Citroën in WRC 2 Pro

Mads Østberg has finalised an eight-round programme in the new WRC 2 Pro category in a Citroën C3 R5.

The Norwegian was left to chase other options for 2019 after missing out on a WRC seat, despite taking two podiums for the Citroën works team last year after being called up to replaced the axed Kris Meeke.

His campaign in the new manufacturer-based Pro category will begin at next month’s Rally Sweden (14 - 17 February) in a C3 run by Belgian team DG Sport.

‘’I must admit I was disappointed when it was clear to me that WRC at the highest level was not an option for me in the 2019 season. Rallying for me is more than a job, it’s a passion, it’s in my blood,” he said.

“It was never an option to give up on my dreams. I shared many good experiences with Citröen Racing during my three years as a factory driver in the team. That’s one of the main reasons I decided to go for this option.”

Østberg drove the C3 R5 for a day in Portugal last year but will warm-up for Sweden with an outing at home country event Rally Hadeland (2 February).

“That test was obviously quite a while ago but the car was nice to drive and I had a good first impression,” explained the 31-year-old, who will again be co-driven by Torstein Eriksen. He expects to confirm the other seven rallies soon.

Østberg is under no illusions about the difficulties ahead in the new category that will feature manufacturer-entered drivers including Skoda’s Jan Kopecký and Kalle Rovanperä, M-Sport Ford’s Gus Greensmith and Lukasz Pieniazek and Citroën stablemate Yoann Bonato.

“We have a big challenge ahead and it will be a busy time for sure. The main focus in the beginning is to develop the car and hopefully to clinch the first C3 R5 win in WRC 2. With the expertise of Citröen Racing and my experience combined, it’s possible,” he said.

Østberg will return to action on Saturday (19 January) when he drives his own Subaru Impreza WRX at the Norwegian championship-opening Sidalsrally.

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