Mads Ostberg has criticized Robert Kubica’s decision to pull out on him, costing the Norwegian time on the second day of Rally Sweden.
Day two proved a tough day for Kubica, who slid off the road twice and lost 20 minutes to leader Jari-Matti Latvala. Emerging from his first shunt in Lesjofors, Ostberg felt the M-Sport driver had pulled out on him.
Ostberg, who was in the thick of a fight to stay on the podium, lost six seconds to Ott Tanak, the man chasing his third position in SS12.
“I don’t know what he [Kubica] had done,” said Ostberg, “but he was parked on the side of the road and then he just pulled out on me. I had to slow down; he was going quite slowly.”
Asked if he thought Kubica could have known he was coming, he said: “I have no idea, but in my opinion, yes.
“When he was idling and waiting, they should be able to hear me coming. But he didn’t hear me and so I got stuck behind him, not for too long but we lost quite a lot of time and destroyed the windscreen.”
Two stages later Ostberg found himself embroiled in Kubica’s second mistake, and the Norwegian admitted he feared far more significant consequences.
“The second time he just went off, it wasn’t his fault; well, maybe it’s his fault, but this can happen,” said Ostberg. “There were a lot of people trying to help him and maybe they couldn’t hear me coming. I came over a crest and I just saw his car and the people in the road. I hoped they would move but they didn’t.
“It was quite close, they were realizing [I was there] when I was about one meter before them. I was in fourth gear, which was quite quick. I could see them, I had control, but it was not a good feeling.”
Kubica said: “When you are behind [another car] then you are losing more, but as soon as I found space – it was a very narrow place where we were driving – then I pulled over. I found a space and let him pass me after about 300 or 400 meters.”