Mads Østberg was happy to 'lose' when he made his return to the FIA European Rally Championship last month.
The World Rally Championship event winner’s defeat came at the hands of Oliver Solberg on Rally Liepāja, which the Norwegian was contesting for the first time in a Citroën C3 R5.
But, as he explained at the finish of the high-speed gravel event in Latvia, it was the taking part rather than the winning that counted.
“We were [in Latvia] to test for Rally Estonia and it was so easy to get carried away by the fighting and the results,” Østberg said. “It was easy to stick to the test plan, it was not so easy to focus my head on not been competitive everywhere.”
As well as fine-tuning the set-up of his C3 R5, which ultimately compromised his stage pace, Østberg’s Rally Liepāja run gave him and co-driver Torstein Eriksen the chance to compete for the first time since Rally Sweden in February.
“I could remember how to drive but I said to the team that when I’m struggling a bit with the car I feel like my driving toolbox is a bit smaller now than it was six months ago. Normally you can drive around things but I struggled a bit more with that. There were some hesitations and when the driving was not perfect I could feel I have been home being a dad for six months with my wife and my kid!”
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