Mads Østberg says he will make himself a different person to avoid risking another emotional outburst like the one that left him with a €1000 fine for swearing at Rally Italy – but added that he was hugely appreciative of public support, which included fans paying his fine for him.
Østberg incurred the wrath of the stewards in Olbia after revealing his frustrations at the end of SS18. He found out about the stewards’ decision via social media.
As well as his fine, the Norwegian was given a suspended loss of 25 points for a repeat offence.
“I will have to make sure I am a different person next time,” Østberg told DirtFish. “Of course, I am sorry for what I did and for any offence caused, but I didn’t say what I said or do what I did because I was trying to be somebody different or trying to make myself look cool.
“I am a normal human being. This was an internal explosion which came when I felt the event didn’t pay out like it should have done. I think I deserved this [WRC2] win.
“I’m not trying justify what I said, but I think we need human beings and we need to have some character in the championship – but this will not be me now. I have to protect myself and do what is necessary to perform my best.”
Having vented about punctures during the event, the Citroën star was also quick to clarify his feelings for Pirelli.
“I don’t want to focus on the tires,” said Østberg. “This was the wrong thing to say. We have the tires we have and they are the same for everybody. I would like to work more with Pirelli – maybe it’s something we got wrong in our set-up with the car. I would like to have some more support with Pirelli to work together.”
I have been amazed at the warmth I've felt. It’s like these guys are putting money into my swear jar!Mads Østberg on fans raising money to pay his fine
Østberg admitted an Estonian established crowd-funding page set up to pay his fine had taken him completely by surprise.
“That is extraordinary,” he said. “And this is one good thing to come from this – I have been amazed at the warmth I’ve felt from the community, from the media and from people inside the WRC. To have my fine paid is just absolutely fantastic and something I really appreciate.
“It’s like these guys are putting money into my swear jar! I love this feeling from the fans, to be appreciated. I am happy, the fans are happy and everybody is happy when they are allowed to be a human being.”