Citroën Racing’s World Rally Championship driver Mads Østberg and his co-driver Jonas Andersson will not be participating in this weekend’s Rally Australia. Why? They are suffering from minor injuries after hitting a truck.
The crash happened during the pre-rally reconnaissance called ‘recce,’ where the drivers use ordinary cars to scout out the roads they’ll race on during the event proper.
In a statement given by Østberg on his Facebook page, he describes the accident in detail:
I see there’s a lot of speculation about speed and who’s to blame. We have speed restrictions (max 80km/h) and are always speed monitored on recce. The accident was not caused by speeding. As the picture from the on-board shows, the truck was on the wrong side of the road. I tried to avoid the impact by turning right where there was a small opening. It really didn’t matter what side any of us were on. The road was simply to narrow to avoid a crash. The trucker hadn’t got information that there would be a recce on his daily route, and is not to blame either.
Doctors on hand gave the pair the “good to go” after they determined that Østberg had two cracked ribs and Andersson was suffering from “extensive bruising.” After then trying their luck on another recce, Østberg and Andersson decided it’d be best to sit the rest of the event out.
“We tried to continue with recce, but it would be impossible for us to compete properly and safely in the rally. We have therefore pulled out on the grounds of force majeure. We’re very disappointed, because we believed we would be competitive and could fight to regain third place in the Drivers’ World Championship.
Rally driver Stéphane Lefebvre and co driver Stéphane Prévot were at the event in Australia and have been arranged to step in as Østberg and Andersson’s replacements at the last minute. Though Lefebvre and Prévot lack experience in the number 4 Citroën DS 3 WRC rally car, the team hopes they will be able to use this event to gain experience in the big leagues with such a high-performance race car.
Best wishes to Mads and Jonas, let’s hope for a speedy recovery.