Citroën to miss Projekt E opener as Østberg withdraws

Mads Østberg has withdrawn from his rallycross debut as parts delays scuppered Projekt E plans

Mads Ostberg

Citroën’s debut in the new Projekt E rallycross series has been delayed after withdrawing from this weekend’s season opener, as travel restrictions caused issues with the preparation of the Citroën C3 ERX set to be driven by Mads Østberg.

Østberg was set to make his rallycross debut in the all-electric series driving an R5-based Citroën C3 that had been co-developed by Citroën Racing and Projekt E technical partner STARD.

DirtFish understands that a key parts delivery was delayed, which in turn led to issues finishing the race-ready build of Østberg’s C3 in time to compete this weekend.

“I was really looking forward to Höljes this weekend, but due to the current COVID-19 situation the presentation has been postponed,” Ostberg tweeted. “Good luck to the organizers and teams. I’ll be back!”

Østberg’s absence leaves just three drivers confirmed for the first weekend of the new-for 2020 series, with former Global Rallycross and World Rallycross star Ken Block lining up alongside longtime British Rally Championship competitor Natalie Barratt and two-time Austrian rally champion Hermann Neubauer.

Rally Estonia in September is set to be Østberg’s next competitive outing, with the World Rally Championship’s first round since March marking the resumption of his main rallying program with Citroën in WRC2.

A mandatory 14-day quarantine for countries with more than 16 COVID-19 cases per 100,000 population is in effect in Estonia, but an exemption has been put in place for WRC competitors at the behest of Estonia’s culture minister Tõnis Lukas.

That means Østberg will be clear to enter the country without needing to quarantine so long as he provides a negative COVID-19 test before departing for Estonia.