WRC - Ostberg chases 'real' victory

Rally of Portugal winner Mads Ostberg says his desire to actually stand on the top step of the World Rally Championship podium is now stronger than ever.


The Norwegian privateer was handed victory on the Faro-based event after Mikko Hirvonen's Citroen DS3 WRC was excluded for clutch and turbo irregularities. Ostberg admitted he talked to Hirvonen on Sunday night and said he felt sorry for the Finn.

"To be honest," said Ostberg. "this doesn't feel very different from being second. This is not because of the result, more the way it happened. If I had won the rally then [on Sunday afternoon], then it would have been a huge thing, but because of the way it happened it's not feeling the same.

"It's a victory in the WRC, but it's not the way I wanted the first one to come. It feels a bit strange, for sure.

"This definitely makes me more determined to get a proper win. I am still chasing my first proper one and that will be something special when I am on the top of the podium for the first time, I was on the second step this time and I want to be on the top. We will fight for that."

Ostberg admitted the publicity at home in Norway had been considerable, but despite the exposure from being the first genuine private driver to win a round of the World Rally Championship since Franco Cunico on the 1993 Sanremo Rally, Ostberg said the rest of his season was far from secure.

"Being the first WRC winner from Norway in seven years is very good and I hope it will help in finding sponsors and partners, but we still have work to do," he said.

"When we worked for the budget before this season, we worked on the same budget as last year – but now the FIA are changing a lot of the rallies. Argentina will take 20 per cent of our budget and that makes it very difficult for the rest of the season. The way things are developing means we need to find more money now. It's the way it is – I don't like it, but apparently somebody wants it that way."

Talking about his call to Hirvonen, Ostberg said: "I feel very sorry for Mikko. I rang him in the evening and we talked about it. He feels he has done his job and I just feel sorry for him.

"Mikko is a very nice guy, he congratulated me on the victory. He told me it was just the way it is and said: 'It's your win now and you deserve it.' He's a nice guy and it definitely helped me to talk to him that way, he is making it a lot easier for me now.

"It's how it is: the Citroen was illegal and they get the punishment now."

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