Mads Østberg and Torstein Eriksen became World champions for the first time thanks to their FIA WRC2 category win on Sunday at ACI Rally Monza.
The Norwegian’s event got off to a rocky start. He struggled with the set-up of his Rally2-specifications Citroën C3 on Friday and ended the first full leg in third.
The tables were turned on Saturday morning when leader Adrien Fourmaux suffered a puncture during the Costa Valle Imagna speed test on his Ford Fiesta MkII. Østberg had already leapfrogged title rival Pontus Tidemand at that point and snatched the lead as Sunday beckoned.
A conservative approach during the final day saw Østberg win the category by 25.6secs and lift the title trophy, an accolade he missed out on by one position last year.
Tidemand was disappointed to lose out on the victory, but remained positive despite getting a front right puncture during the rally-closing Power Stage. The Swede regretted to have made bad tyre choices in Monza.
Jan Kopecky was 57.8 sec behind his Škoda Fabia team-mate in third after a frustrating weekend, whilst M-Sport Ford Fiesta pilot Fourmaux completed the leaderboard.
Fourmaux’s Friday pace made him an early contender for the Monza win. However, front suspension damage after the Saturday puncture put paid to his efforts and he ended 29min 20.4sec adrift of top spot.
2020 ACI Rally Monza – Final unofficial results:
1. Mads Ostberg (NOR) / Torstein Eriksen (FIN) Citroën C3 2 hr 21min 18.4sec
2. Pontus Tidemand (SWE) / Patrick Barth (SWE) Škoda Fabia Evo 2 hr 21min 44.0sec
3. Jan Kopecký (CZE) / Jan Hloušek (CZE) Škoda Fabia Evo 2 hr 22min 41.8sec
4. Adrien Fourmaux (FRA) / Renaud Jamoul (BEL) Ford Fiesta MKII 2 hr 50min 38.8sec