- October 11, 1987
- Fia World Rally Championship
- PH Sport
Mads Østberg is a Norwegian rally driver who has been competing in the World Rally Championship since 2006, recording about 120 starts and winning one event, the 2012 Rally de Portugal.
Besides competing in the world's class of rallying, Østberg is a four-time Norwegian champion (in 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2011).
First WRC car for 18th birthday
Mads Østberg was born on October 11, 1987, in Moss, Norway. He started rallying at the age of 17, driving Opel Ascona and Volvo 740 at some events in Sweden. His first co-driver was Ragnar Engen. Few days after the celebration of his 18th birthday, in October 2005, Mads participated in the first event in Norway, switching to Subaru Impreza S7 WRC 01.
World's debut at 2006 Swedish Rally
For the 2006 season, Østberg's car was Impreza S9 WRC 03 and he scored his first victory, at January's Rally Hadeland. A week later, he debuted in the World Rally Championship. He participated in the Swedish Rally with Adapta's Impreza S9 WRC and he finished 31st. He had two more appearances at gravel rallies in Finland and Wales. In Wales, he switched to Impreza S10 WRC, alongside navigator Ole Kristian Unnerud, and finished 23rd overall.
2007 - first national title and first WRC point
The season finished with Østberg's second place at the Norwegian Rally Championship, with one victory and five podiums in seven events. In 2007, Østberg won his first Norwegian rally title, winning six events in the Prodrive-prepared Subaru Impreza S10 WRC 04 of Adapta Motorsport.
In the 2007 World Rally Championship, Mads expanded his program with the same car to six gravel and snow events – Sweden, Norway, Portugal, Italy, Finland and the UK. At the Swedish Rally, he took his first WRC stage win. He was the fastest at the super special stage on the second day of the event. At the end, he finished ninth overall and nearly missed his maiden WRC points. In August, he scored one point at Rally Finland and finished 8th overall.
2008 - one more Norwegian championship trophy
In 2008, the 21-year-old Mads Østberg became the Norwegian champion for the second year in a row, still with Ole Kristian Unnerud as a co-driver. After few rallies with an old car, Mads switched to Subaru Impreza S12B WRC 07.
In the Norwegian events, he scored three wins and seven podiums and confirmed his domination in the home soil. In the world's competition, he still had to improve himself. He reached the ninth place (which was his best result) at Swedish Rally and Tour de Corse.
2009 - third consecutive triumph in the national championship
Østberg showed a big progress in his performance during 2009 season of the World Rally Championship, still driving Subaru Impreza for Adapta Motorsport. When Subaru factory team withdrew from WRC, the team had a support from Prodrive.
He scored three point-finishes, took the sixth place in Portugal and two seventh-places in Italy and Greece. At the end of the season, he was 11th in the championship standings. In the second part of the season, Jonas Andersson became Østberg's navigator.
Switch to Ford in 2011 WRC season
In 2010, Mads continued to drive Subaru Impreza, using two different versions of the car in the World Championship and Norwegian Championship. In the 2010 WRC season, besides four events with Subaru, he was driving Stobart's Ford Fiesta S2000 at tarmac events in Germany and France.
Østberg became a full-time WRC driver for the first time in 2011, joining Stobart M-Sport. In his first event at the wheel of the Ford Fiesta RS WRC, Mads scored his maiden WRC podium and finished second at Rally Sweden, just 6.5 seconds behind Ford's factory driver Mikko Hirvonen. Østberg took one more podium, the second place at Wales Rally GB and finished sixth in the final classification of the championship.
In the 2011 Norwegian Rally Championship, Østberg was driving Adapta's Ford Fiesta S2000, clinching his fourth championship title. He won three events and added three more podiums.
2012 - maiden WRC victory in the best season of a career
In 2012, Østberg participated in some Norwegian events with Ford Fiesta RRC before he competed at Rally Sweden with Ford Fiesta RS WRC and took the sensational podium. He finished third behind two factory drivers of Ford (Latvala) and Citroen (Hirvonen).
For the remainder of the 2012 WRC season, Mads was driving the #10 Fiesta RS WRC for Adapta World Rally Team. On April 1, he scored his first WRC victory, winning the Rallye de Portugal. He became the winner after Mikko Hirvonen was excluded from the event. Later in the season, Østberg took one more podium (third in Argentina) and finished among Top 5 drivers. It was his career-best season, with 149 points on his account he finished 4th in the points.
For the 2013 season, Ostberg joined Qatar M-Sport team, which was the semi-factory entrant with Ford Fiesta RS WRC, after the manufacturer withdrew its own team from the championship. Ostberg's best result was the 3rd place, at Rally Sweden and Rally Finland. At the end of the season, he was sixth in the points.
Lot of good results in two seasons with Citroen
In 2014, Ostberg became a part of the new Citroen's line-up, together with Kris Meeke. He was driving the #4 Citroen DS3 WRC and recorded four podiums – three 3rds and one 2nd place. He finished second at Rally Italia Sardegna. In the championship points at the end of the season, Ostberg was fifth, two spots ahead of his teammate Meeke.
Ostberg and Meeke stayed with Citroën in 2015. The Norwegian was again more successful than a teammate. He finished fourth in the championship, one place ahead of Meeke. Ostberg was on the podium three times. In Argentina, he participated in Citroen's 1-2 victory, finishing second behind Meeke. Other podiums were second place in Mexico and third place in Finland.
M-Sport Ford driver in 2016, privateer in 2017
Ostberg found a full-time arrangement in the M-Sport World Rally Team, alongside French rookie Eric Camilli. Ostberg's new partner in a cockpit was Ola Fløene. The Norwegian pair scored two podiums and finished third in Sweden and Mexico. At the end of the season, Ostberg was seventh. Besides WRC commitments, he participated in some Norwegian events with Adapta Motorsport Ford Fiesta R5, winning three times.
In 2017, Ostberg dropped out from M-Sport's team but he continues to drive a new 2017-spec Ford Fiesta WRC as private entry, joining forces with Martin Prokop's team. In eight events, his best result was the fifth place at Rally Catalunya.
Back to a cockpit of a Citroen in 2018
In 2018, Ostberg was invited to drive for Citroen factory team at Rally Sweden. Then, when Citroen sacked Kris Meeke, Ostberg became full-time driver from the sixth round in Portugal. In eight events, his best result was the second place at Rally Finland. His second podium was the third place at Raly Australia.
In 2019, he stayed with Citroen but not in the premier WRC division, driving instead a Citroen C3 R5 in the WRC2 Pro competition
Photos: madsostberg.no, ewrc.cz, Getty Images,