Former Citroen and M-Sport factory driver Mads Østberg (pictured) says he is interested in racing the 2019 edition of the ARC Safari Rally slated for July 6-7.
The 67th running of Safari will count towards the fourth leg of 2019 FIA African Rally Championship (ARC), the fifth round of the Kenya National Rally Championship and above all, a World Rally Championship (WRC) candidate event with the noble objective to return to the global in the circuit in 2019.
The Safari was a WRC event between 1973 and 2002 when FIA axed it from the world series. The Safari could be Østberg’s second event after the Otago Rally of New Zealand. Otago is the Norwegian’s first confirmed event after losing his seat at WRC’s Citroen Racing.
Reacting to The Star’s recent year-ender which highlighted the growing interest of European works drivers for the forthcoming Safar, Østberg tweeted: “I will consider any option involving an opportunity to be behind the wheel of a rally car.”
Mark Tufte, a.k.a Mark Make Roads Safe (admin of ‘Rallying in Africa’ page on Facebook) said: “Actually, as I saw Tapio racing the Mini Classic Safari in a Kabras’s Porsche, I asked Mads Østberg if he’s interested in racing the Safari Rally 2019 in July. He replied he’s really interested.
I linked him to Kabras staff but they couldn’t come to an agreement due to some logistical issues. As we’re both from Norway, it was easier for me to ask him if he would be interested to do the Safari. The idea came to me when he announced that he will do Otago Rally in New Zealand in 2019. It was his first confirmed event as he had lost his seat at Citroen Racing.
So I told him the Safari could be the second one. Even when he was dealing with his contract in Rallycross with Skoda, he got back to me many times to ask about the Safari Rally. Unfortunately, they couldn’t come to an agreement Nevertheless, all is not lost. Personally, I’m convinced that hosting a top world rally driver like Mads is a great opportunity for African teams and events.