Østberg likely to stay with Citroën in 2021

The Norwegian says he has "loose strings" to tie in the WRC, but that may have to wait until 2022

Mads Ostberg

Newly crowned WRC2 champion Mads Østberg is keen to remain with Citroën Racing in 2021 to finish the job he started in redeveloping its C3 R5 car.

Østberg clinched the WRC2 title on the Monza Rally after he took his fourth class victory of the season. He beat 2017 WRC2 champion Pontus Tidemand to the title by four points, despite competing in one less event than the Swede.

The 33-year-old Norwegian has spent the last two years working with the Versailles-based squad to improve the C3 against the competition.

The final round of changes to the car won’t be pressed into action until after its homologation in March next year. While the one-time World Rally winner is keen to step back into Rally1 action, if no seat presents itself in the top class, he’s ready to remain in WRC2 with Citroën.

“We are looking at some different options for next year,” Østberg told DirtFish, “but it would be nice to finish the job and compete in the car that I’ve been developing this year. And, of course, it would be nice to have a car that is suiting me perfectly and the best car I’ve had so far.

“I want to go back to Rally1, that where the [main] action is and there are still some loose strings to be tied up in that section.

“I think the strategy at the moment, is to stay here for next year and wait for the new [WRC] regulations to happen. We don’t know what will happen yet with them. We will hopefully continue next year as well to be in the rallies and compete, and be there when the new regulations are coming.”

Mads ostberg

The 2012 Rally Portugal winner also spoke of the effectiveness of the “Norweigan way of working” in developing Citroën’s R5 machine, which also took Alexey Lukyanuk to his second European Rally Championship last month.

Østberg began his association with Citroën back in 2014, competing for two years with them in the top class before switching to M-Sport – a move he later regretted. He re-joined Citroën for a part-time campaign in 2018 before stepping down to WRC2 to develop its R5 car the following year.

“I think it’s been a great team effort, from Torstein [Eriksen] and myself and also the development team of Citroën Racing,” Østberg said after winning the WRC2 title.

“We have worked very well together and I think we have enjoyed the Norwegian way of working, which is quite direct. We have skipped some of the nice lines from time to time and went quite directly onto our challenges.

“I know Citroën well enough, and they know me enough, that we can work that way. That has made us do great steps together, and I’m really proud of what we have been able to do together.”

Words:David Evans and Colin Clark 

Photo:Jaanus Ree/Red Bull Content Pool