Two weeks after the Argentinian event, the World Rally Championship competitors met up in Chili this last weekend, for a previously unseen event, where one and all were to discover the numerous traps, but also a tricky course to take on as from the moment the recces had been disrupted by a persistent fog. DG Sport Compétition was obviously on hand with the Citroën C3 R5 manned by Mads Østberg and Torstein Eriksen, fully determined to continue on their successful run following their results in WRC-2 Pro clinched in Sweden and Argentina.
Up against the young Kalle Rovanperä, Østberg was going to do justice to his reputation of fighter initiating a heavy duel for overall victory. Friday evening a mere 2’’4 seperated these two protagonists. As from the start of Saturday’s stage, the gap markedly evolved, the Citroën C3 R5 losing some thirty seconds due to a brake issue. At the end of the 16 special stages of the event, the gap between Rovanperä and Østberg was down to … 23’’1. Enough said. …
“In SS7, Mads experienced a burst brake hose on the left rear wheel, Jérémy Chevallereau, DG Sport Compétition’s technical manager in Chili commented. We know the source of the issue, and notwithstanding the various precautions we had taken, the hose attachment broke, the latter then rubbing up against the wheel rim, which caused the leak. Pretty frustrating, for sure …”
“However, the most important was the fact that the speed was there, allowing us to battle it out once again for victory in WRC-2 Pro, Mads Østberg explained after finishing the Power Stage. It’s always disappointing not being able to take full command due to a technical issue obviously. It will take me a few days to accept it, but this result reassures our excellent start this season in the category.”
In the DG Sport Compétition ranks, this first honourable mention leaves a sour taste … “Throughout the entire weekend, Mads clocked up good results, and this could have been converted into an additional victory, Luc Manset, co-ordinator and man in charge of logistics assessed. We know the cause of the problem, which is reassuring for the future. But even though top spot was not to be ours this weekend, it’s worth recognising that speed was quite clearly there, as Østberg pointed out. The title in WRC-2 Pro remains the season’s objective, and in that light, notwithstanding everything the result in Chili can be said to be positive.”
The competition will be back in action with the Rally of Portugal, to be held from the 30th May through to 2ndJune..