Citroën Racing will field a works C3 R5 for Mads Østberg on Rally Liepāja on August 14-16, the second round of the European Rally Championship.
Østberg, who leads the World Rally Championship-2 standings after winning the first two of the three rounds held so far, will enter the ERC’s Latvian event as a warm-up for the WRC season’s resumption on Rally Estonia in September.
Rally Liepāja is a fast gravel rally and therefore a useful warm-up event for neighbour Estonia, which is appearing on the WRC calendar for the first time.
“It will be a great opportunity to prepare for the upcoming return to WRC2 in Estonia, and after a long break with no time in the car, we really need the mileage,” Østberg announced on social media.
“With that said this is not only at test for us, we want to win every rally we enter, and this is no different.
“There’s a high level of performance so we’ll have to deliver the goods to be competitive. [I’m] looking forward to getting back with the team and [my] co-driver Torstein Eriksen.”
While Østberg has made a perfect start to his WRC2 campaign, his past outings in ERC – both of which were in Ford Fiesta R5s – have not gone to plan.
He crashed out of the lead on the Canary Islands Rally in 2016 and one year on, he lost another potential win on Rally Rzeszowski when a power steering issue dropped him out of the lead on the first leg of the rally and then forced him to retire the following day.
Since his time as a factory WRC driver came to an end in 2018 – when Citroën dropped from three cars to two, Østberg has led development of the C3 R5, scoring a total of five WRC2 class wins with it so far.
Alexey Lukyanuk won the ERC season opener in a Saintéloc Racing-prepared C3 last weekend.