Loeb to push for 6th WRC title
- 19th October 2009, 8:33am
After wrapping up Citroën’s fifth Manufacturers’ world title in Spain, the Citroën Total World Rally Team heads for the Rally of Great Britain looking to pull off yet another feat. This time, its mission will be to give Sébastien Loeb and Daniel Elena the means to secure a sixth consecutive Drivers’ crown.
For the Franco-Monegasque pair, the arithmetics couldn’t be simpler: they must necessarily finish in the points ahead of Mikko Hirvonen. Meanwhile, Dani Sordo and Marc Marti will be given a free rein to target victory in the 12th round of the season.
In keeping with tradition, this month’s Rally of Great Britain will be the final round of the 2009 FIA World Rally Championship. It is also an event that the WRC regulars know particularly well, although this year’s visit to Wales is scheduled one month ahead of its slot in the 2008 calendar. "Unless the weather takes a real turn for the worse, I’m pleased to say there is little chance we will face the prospect of having to tackle icy stages on gravel tyres, as we did last year," observes Sébastien Loeb. "That said, the cocktail of rain, mud and fog – especially in the dark – has a habit of making this a very tough event. But even then, it’s a great rally which I thoroughly enjoy."
"Unlike the conditions, our mission in Wales is pretty much straightforward, though," continues Seb.
"We will need to finish ahead of Mikko Hirvonen, and in the points. The two of us will obviously be under a great deal of pressure, and even a small mistake could put either one of us out of the running for the title. I don’t want to dwell too much on the stakes, however, otherwise we run the risk of not being able to put one foot in front of the other! As far as possible, I will try to put all that to the back of my mind and simply get on the fight. Mikko and I have enjoyed some particularly close scraps this year already – in Norway, Finland and Australia – and I hope we will see another exciting battle in Wales."
To prepare for the year’s closing round, the Citroën team spent four days testing in Wales: "Everything went very well. As in previous years, I think my C4 WRC will be very competitive on this sort of terrain. Mikko is driving the course car on a rally in Wales this weekend, so I will put in an extra day of testing on Sunday, and both of us promise to be in tip-top form when we arrive in Cardiff!"
After making a big contribution to Citroën’s 2009 Manufacturers’ title, Dani Sordo will be given a free rein on the British round: "That doesn’t mean I will win, but I have every intention of being part of the fight. Had that not been the case, then I might as well stay at home! I won’t be under any pressure, so I will be able to drive with a freer mind. Last year, I finished on the podium in Wales to help clinch the Manufacturers’ title. Our pre-event testing went well; I enjoyed driving the car and I feel confident. You want me to predict the result? OK: Sordo ahead of Loeb. Then we will be able to have a huge party on Sunday evening!"
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