World Rally Championship driver Mads Ostberg to make ERC debut

World Rally Championship driver Mads Ostberg will contest the opening round of the European Rally Championship in a Ford Fiesta R5

World Rally Championship driver Mads Ostberg to make ERC debut

The M-Sport World Rally Team ace will compete in next month's Canary Islands Rally in a car run by Spanish team RMC and funded by sponsors from Gran Canaria.

It will mark the first ERC start for Ostberg, who said the deal came about after a chance conversation with someone from a Spanish hotel.

"I was staying in the Anfi Del Mar resort hotel last year, when I posted a picture on social media," he explained.

"David Sanchez from the hotel got in touch with me and we talked about rallying and this event in particular and that's how it happened."

When asked what he thought of the series, Ostberg replied: "I was hoping you would be able to tell me about it.

"Really, I have no idea who will be competing, or how I can [expect to] get on.

"Of course, when I start every rally, I want to win it, but I don't know what is coming in Canaries."

Ostberg, whose co-driver Ola Floene has twice completed the event with Andreas Mikkelsen and finished runner-up in 2012, admitted the chance for some extra asphalt mileage early in the season was very attractive.

Rally Germany is the first of the WRC season's asphalt events, in late-August.

"OK, it's three or maybe four months early, but it always helps to get some more time on this surface," he said. "This is definitely an important part of my season and this is a chance to get some nice preparation."

RMC's Fiesta R5 is a 2015 specification car, but Ostberg said he was putting pressure on his M-Sport colleagues to find the right parts to turn it into an R5 Evo.

The Las Palmas-based event runs from March 10-12, the weekend after Rally Mexico.

Ostberg is currently third in the WRC drivers' standings after finishing fourth and third on the opening two events.

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