Rally Portugal winner and fourth-placed driver in the 2012 FIA World Rally Championship, Mads Ostberg, got his first taste of a Group N car yesterday, as he tested the MML Sports Mitsubishi Lancer EvolutionX Gp N ahead of this weekend's Rally of Champions, the Talsi Rally in Latvia.
This was the first time the reigning Norwegian Rally Champion had driven a group N car and while it is clearly very different from the Ford Fiesta World Rally Car he is driving in this year's WRC, he adapted to the Lancer quickly.
Commenting, Ostberg said; "The Group N car is a new experience but I actually enjoyed it a lot. The car is huge and everything is a bit slower but it is good fun - you can drive it quite smoothly and it's like dancing with the car. It feels really good and I'm impressed by it.
"There were no other Group N cars at the test, so we don't have any other times to compare. I have no idea what is quick in a Group N car and what is slow, so we will just drive as quick as we can. At the moment, I cannot drive any quicker. During the event we will learn more about the car and I hope I can fight for the win but it's a big challenge."
Managing Director of MML Sports, John Easton, was also impressed; "Mads was instantly very comfortable in the car. We made a few set-up changes and he seemed very happy. As it's his first time in a Group N car, we aren't sure of his pace but the pre-event shakedown will be a good opportunity to see how his times are. Mads is a very nice guy; very easy to work with, a very good understanding of the car and the set-up changes we made and seems very happy in the Lancer."
This year's Rally of Champions at the Talsi Rally will see six national rally champions fight for honours on the third round of the 2012 Latvian Rally Championship. The event features five stages on Saturday 12 May and a further five stages on Sunday 13. For more information and an exclusive video of Ostberg's first test of a Group N car, go to:
The video can also be downloaded directly from: