Two days of preparation are extremely insufficient – that was the conclusion Mads Østberg and Ola Fløene made after Rally Sweden. That was their first race in 2017 and proved to be a real ordeal.
The first day of the race was especially difficult. The crew had to accept 50 seconds time penalty after being five minutes late out of service in Torsby. The reasons for the delay were problems with the front diff and a gearbox change. Then on the first stage after service the rear wing broke from the car while it was moving at nearly 200 km/h. Driving two more stages without the rear wing only led to even more timeloss and the team decided to quit for the day. The crew restarted on the next day under Rally2 rules.
In the end Østberg and Fløene were 15th at the finish. Mads felt the team can be happy with getting to the end after only a couple of test days. The Norwegian did not want to make any serious conclusions as he still has a lot to learn about the new car. The team tried some setup changes, but running a rally as a test is never ideal.
One of the few bright moments during last weekend was Colin’s Crest. Østberg came very close to breaking the record. This year he flew for 44 meters.
“I really set out to beat the record the second time through. On a day where we had very little to drive for, I thought it would be funny to flatten the competition over the jump. And we really did that, both times. But the conditions didn’t give me enough speed out of the last corner before the jump to beat the record. Still a 44 metre jump in a car is quite long”, joked Mads.
Here are the official results of Colin’s Crest Award:
1. Østberg 44 meters
2. Brynildsen 42 meters
2. Veiby 42 meters pic.twitter.com/lBUWCOBuAw
— Rally Sweden (@RallySweden) 11 February 2017
Mads Østberg: “I am not using the full potential of the car”
“I haven’t yet explored the possibilities with active center differential, but have been driving with a locked differential. Another key area is the aerodynamics. These new cars gives so much more downforce and grip, but to trust the downforce to keep you on the road in the really highspeed corners is something you have to experience and learn. I had a little fright Friday with the rear wing disappearing, but it was a real eyeopener experiencing the downforce the car actually generates.”
“For sure we need more mileage, and will be concentrating on doing some testwork before the next rally. This is especially important as the next event is on tarmac and so far I have just driven the car a few kilometers on that surface during a test in France before Christmas. We can see from the splits in Sweden that we have been quite competitive on the technical parts of the stages, but I need a bit more confidence to actually trust and use the aerodynamic possibilities the car gives me in the really fast sections. But I am positive and have definitely enjoyed driving the new and very fast WRC car.”
Focus for Mads already changed – at least for a couple of weeks – from rally to childbirth. He and his wife Beate look forward to become parents and consequently Mads will not drive in Mexico.
“We have planned this a long time ago. I will not risk being away on another continent when Beate is having our first child. We already know its a boy, and he will be named Mons. My next rally will be Tour de Corse in the beginning of april”, Mads explained.