M-Sport World Rally Team’s Mads Østberg and Éric Camilli will be looking for a change of fortune at the legendary Tour de Corse. Based in Corsica – aptly known as the Ile de Beauté – this beautiful island provides the backdrop for one of the WRC’s most well-known and well-loved sealed-surface events.
Always a challenge, tight and twisty mountain roads are often bordered by sharp rock faces and steep drops into the sea below. The narrow and abrasive stages also mean that mistakes are not lightly forgiven. Putting pressure on crews and team to deliver an error-free run through the long and demanding speed tests.
Mads Østberg: “I can be proud of what I’ve achieved”
Østberg and co-driver Ola Fløene travelled to Germany’s Rally Niedersachsen where they worked on various aspects of their asphalt driving. Focusing on corner entry and exits, the Norwegians gained a wealth of knowledge.
Corsica will also be a special event for Østberg as he celebrates his 100th WRC rally. The Norwegian started his WRC career at the 2006 edition of Rally Sweden and many of his stand-out performances came at the wheel of the Fiesta RS WRC – challenging for the lead of Rally Sweden in 2011 and winning Rally Portugal in 2012.
Mads Østberg said:“It’s pretty amazing to think that this will be my 100th WRC event. When I look back at those early years, to where I am now, I think I can be proud of what I’ve achieved. But the hard work is not over yet.
“Corsica is always a challenge. I’m sure that this year will be no different. We’ve not had the benefit of a pre-event test, but we took our Ford Fiesta R5 to Rally Niedersachsen. That proved really useful.
“The aim was to improve our driving on Tarmac and I think we achieved that. We had teams on the stages observing our corner entry and exits, and I hope that we can bring all that we learnt forward to Corsica – where the aim will be to improve where we left off in Germany.
“The Tour de Corse is a unique rally and it has a lot of history so it’s always nice to be there. Asphalt is not my preferred surface, but when you hook up a good stage on these roads it’s quite special and very satisfying.”
Éric Camilli: “It’s not an easy rally”
In the sister M-Sport Fiesta RS WRC, the Tour de Corse is very much a home event for Camilli whose family hail from the start town of Ajaccio.
With the disappointments of the previous round firmly behind them, the Frenchman and his compatriot co-driver Benjamin Veillas will be hoping that home advantage carries some weight as they strive to secure a strong result on French soil.
Éric Camilli said: “This is my home event in more ways than one, and an event where I do have some experience. My father’s family are from Ajaccio. It will definitely be a special one for me with lots of friends and family all out spectating.
“It’s not an easy rally, but we have done well there in the past. I first contested the event in 2014. Then when it was part of the European Rally Championship – and finished fourth overall. It will be a challenge to repeat that in the WRC. But you never know and you can never predict the result in Corsica!
“The stages are very long with so many tight and twisty corners. You have to have good notes and be fully focussed from start to finish. We’re feeling well prepared and fully refreshed after the unexpected break.
“Our goal will be to deliver a consistent performance on these beautiful roads. I hope to show some good speed too. I can’t wait to get out on the stages with the Fiesta RS WRC.”