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Full recce rollcage saved my life in Australia, says Ostberg

Mads Ostberg says Citroen's decision to run a full-specification rollcage in his recce car saved his life in his crash with a truck prior to Rally Australia

The Norwegian sat out the latest round of the World Rally Championship with fractured ribs following the head-on impact on the pre-event recce.

Ostberg believes it could have been a lot worse.

"Fortunately our recce car has a full cage in it," Ostberg told AUTOSPORT.

"Some of the other teams only use a lightweight cage - if I had been in one of those then it would have been finished for me.

"A lightweight cage simply wouldn't have coped with a collision like that."

Ostberg was angered by accusations that he had made the crash worse by moving to the wrong side of the road immediately before the impact on the Valla stage.

His Mitsubishi Lancer ended up on the right-hand side of the road - with speculation that he instinctively went to the right in a country where cars drive on the left.

"A lot of people simply don't understand what happened," said Ostberg.

"If I had gone to the left side it would have been even worse. Going to the right was the only option."

Ostberg said neither he nor the truck driver was at fault, but he urged the rally organisers to do more to let locals know the recce was running.

"The truck driver had no idea the recce was going on," said Ostberg.

"For me, that's catastrophic that people on the road didn't know the recce was happening.

"He wasn't speeding and we were not speeding, we were doing between 60 and 70km/h (37 and 43mph), but we were the first car in on the recce.

"There was nothing we could do, but more has to be done next year."

Ostberg's Citroen team-mate Stephane Lefebvre - who stood in for the Norwegian in the rally - also crashed on the recce. His Lancer escaped with less damage from a head-on with a car on Nambucca.

WRC manager Michele Mouton disagreed with Ostberg's recommendation for full rollcages in recce cars.

"For me, this was a normal road accident, that's all," she said.

"If we talk about needing rollcages for the recce - which is conducted at normal speeds on normal roads which are open [to the public] - then are we saying all [road] cars need rollcages? I don't think so."

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