Ost­berg and Wil­son clash over rally speed

Motor Sport News - - Rally News -

M-sport driver Mads Ost­berg and team prin­ci­pal Mal­colm Wil­son have dis­agreed over the Nor­we­gian’s ap­par­ent lack of pace on Rally Ar­gentina.

Ost­berg fin­ished the South Amer­i­can event in fifth place, al­most five min­utes be­hind win­ner Hay­den Paddon.

Un­able to travel to the event fol­low­ing an op­er­a­tion on his an­kle, Wil­son was watch­ing from Bri­tain and was not pleased with what he saw.

“Mads is still not where we would ex­pect him to be,” said Wil­son. “He has set some en­cour­ag­ing splits, but his over­all stage times are a long way off what we wanted and we need to un­der­stand why he has been un­able to match the speed of his ri­vals, or his fel­low Fi­esta driver Ott Tanak.”

Ost­berg de­fended his po­si­tion and pointed to a lack of en­gine de­vel­op­ment from the team as well as an in­ter­mit­tent gearshift prob­lem as causes for the ap­par­ent time loss.

“The en­gine and gear­box need work,” said Ost­berg. “Some­times, the gear is not go­ing down when we go to the cor­ner and when this is hap­pen­ing, you have to change your style to be less ag­gres­sive. We need more pres­sure from the pump in the [gear] change sys­tem.

“We are be­hind with the en­gine. I un­der­stand it’s dif­fi­cult for Mal­colm, but we have to face facts – the man­u­fac­tur­ers are up­grad­ing the engines and we need to do the same. I want to work with the team, we have to do some­thing. I will talk to Mal­colm af­ter this rally, we talked af­ter Mex­ico and we un­der­stood some things then.”

Asked about the com­par­i­son with Tanak, Ost­berg said: “It’s not such a fair com­par­i­son with the cars be­hind me, they have grip – they are driv­ing on Tar­mac com­pared with what I am driv­ing on.”

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