Mads Ostberg came to the Otago Rally in New Zealand’s with a variety of unknowns. His car, a Ford Escort RS1800, was foreign to him, and the country and roads of New Zealand were also all new - he had never competed in Rally New Zealand. He did not, however, expect a humble Kiwi farmer to help get him back on the road. After a frustrating Saturday which resulted in a broken prop shaft only 2.5km into the first stage, he was hoping for a clean run on Sunday’s stages north of Dunedin.

Mads Ostberg did not make it through the first stage on Saturday before returning later in the day. Photo: Peter Whitten

On the second stage of the day, however, broken suspension was not what he wished for. It was then when dramatic roadside repairs were required. Once the stage finished, Ostberg’s Rossendale Wines team went into the stage to the car and completed a remarkable fix. The mechanics' Kiwi ingenuity came to the fore. A metal fencepost was the saviour. “We just pulled it out of the ground, just like that,” Ostberg told RallySport Magazine at the post event dinner.

Mads Ostberg came back, with the fencepost, and won the last four stages. Photo: Peter Whitten

“I couldn’t believe it.” The solid metal stake was then welded in the farmer’s shed to complete the remarkable repair job. He went on to win the final four stages, prompting a smart remark from Ostberg on his Facebook page. “I think we should homologate that fence post,” the Norwegian said. Lucky there wasn’t a world championship at stake (pun intended).
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