Mads Østberg hopes his experience of winter competition will help him at Rally Sweden [15 – 18 February] where he makes a return to Citroen’s WRC squad for the first time in two years.
Citroën has brought in the Norwegian to bolster its chances at the season’s snow and ice second round, where will drive a C3 world rally car as part of a three-car squad along with Kris Meeke and Craig Breen.
The 30-year-old knows Citroën well, having scored seven podiums as a works driver for the team between 2014 and 2015. And although his two latest seasons have been in Ford Fiestas, he expects a day of pre-event testing will enable him to get used to the C3 on stages where he feels right at home.
To further hone his sense of snow, Østberg and co-driver Torstein Eriksen recently tackled two national chmpionship rallies, winning KNA Rally Finnskog in a Ford Fiesta.
“Rally Sweden is a special event for me and I have always been quick here, so I’m very happy to have this opportunity to rejoin the team,” he said.
“I’m hoping to adapt quickly to the C3 WRC. In any case, I’m already up to speed in these conditions, having contested two winter rallies in Norway, the second of which I won.”
Østberg has a decent finishing record in Sweden, with a best result of runner-up in 2011 and four other podium finishes in 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2016. And he is hopeful recent heavy snow in Sweden will play to his strengths.
“With the bigger snow banks this year, the roads are likely to be narrower and more technically demanding, so perhaps we Scandinavians may be able to take advantage of our greater experience in conditions like these,” he said.