Sun screen slip
trips up Østberg

Suncream protecting Mads Østberg’s sensitive Scandinavian skin from Sardinia’s searing sunshine may have contributed to the incident that cost him a podium at Rally Italia Sardegna last weekend.

He smeared high-factor cream on his burned ears at the start of the day, but became distracted when one of his intercom ear plugs slipped out in the second half of Sunday morning’s opening Olmedo Monte Baranta stage.

As he struggled to put the plug back in place, a bad pace note sent Citroën’s DS 3 off the road. Damage to the brakes and suspension slowed Østberg for the rest of the morning, relegating him to fifth as both Thierry Neuville and Elfyn Evans slipped by.

“I put sun cream on my ears because I was so burned,” Østberg told wrc.com. “When I put the plugs in for the stage I felt it was very slippery and one of them came out in the stage!

“I could hear and it wasn’t the reason for me going off, but I felt it come out and tried to correct it over a long, long straight. I was slightly out of focus and arrived back in the rhythm but immediately I made the mistake.

“The off was maybe a combination of many things. The pace note wasn’t correct but the reason for the ear plug coming out was probably the sun cream."

Many drivers use an intercom system built into their crash helmets, but Østberg prefers to use plugs.

“I have used them for the last year and I normally don’t have any problems,” he added.

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