Mads Østberg will miss next month’s World Rally Championship asphalt fixture in Corsica after being unable to test the latest suspension for his Ford Fiesta WRC.
The Norwegian is unwilling to head to the Che Guevara Energy Drink Tour de Corse scheduled on April 6-9 with what he believes is no opportunity to fight for a top result. He will return to the championship at Rally Argentina slated for April 27-30.
“It became clear a few days ago that we were not guaranteed to get the proper Tarmac suspension for our car to Corsica, and furthermore no time to test on Tarmac,” he said.
“There is no reason for us to do the rally only to drive the roads with untested material. Therefore I will enjoy a few weeks extra ‘daddy leave’ before Argentina, instead of pushing ahead to do a rally were we won`t stand a chance to get a result,” he added.
Østberg debuted his OneBet-backed 2017-specification Fiesta at February’s Rally Sweden. He was always due to skip Rally Guanajuato Mexico earlier this month as he and his wife, Beate, celebrated the birth of their first child two weeks earlier.
He tested for two days on snow in Norway last week, focusing on the differential and suspension set-up, and is planning gravel work in Europe and Argentina ahead of the south American event.
“Snow and ice is, of course, not very relevant for the rest of the season but there were lots of things we couldn’t try in Sweden because of late delivery of the car and generally too little time to test before the event,” he said.
“After driving a couple of days here in Norway I already feel we have taken huge steps in knowing the car and set-up possibilities,” he added.
Argentina has been a strong rally for Østberg in recent years. He finished third in 2012 and second in 2015.