01 Dec 08
Sebastien Loeb has pledged to do all he can to help Citroen win the 2008 World Championship for Manufacturers’ on Wales Rally GB - even if that means watching somebody else take first place on the rally he desperately wants to win.
Victory on Rally Finland earlier this year makes Wales Rally GB the only ‘classic’ event Loeb has yet to win. And it could be a record-breaker too. Currently he is the only driver ever to win 10 rallies in a single season - victory in Wales would be number 11.
But Loeb insists that securing a fourth makes’ title will be his priority. The Citroen Total team goes to Wales with an 11-point lead in the series and depending on how their rivals Ford do, may need to collect up to seven points in order to complete the 2008 championship double.
"It's a rally I've never won - for a variety of reasons - and I would dearly like to win it one day," acknowledged Sebastien. "That probably won't be our priority this time round, however. Winning the Manufacturers' title is important for Citroen and we will do all we can to make that happen. That will mean defending our current 11-point lead, steering clear of all the pitfalls and finishing as close to our rivals as we can."
Loeb has been keeping himself busy in the run up to rally GB; testing a Red Bull Racing formula one car, a Peugeot Le Mans prototype and, this weekend, squeezing in an appearance on one of his favourite French championship events, the Rallye du Var, with his wife Severine as co-driver. Predictably the family Loeb did well, hustling their Citroen C2 S1600 to third and finishing ahead of some four-wheel drive WRC and S2000 spec cars.
"I've hardly had time to catch my breath since Japan," said Loeb. "The Wales Rally GB is an event I enjoy. The atmosphere is always very special, especially on the stages run in semi-darkness. The terrain is also highly specific, and never easy. The muddy conditions can produce differing levels of grip from one corner to the next, while other portions can be impressively fast and technically challenging; especially given how little grip there is... when there is grip!"
Loeb’s team-mates, Dani Sordo and Marc Marti will tackle the rally together for the third time. "We will be trying harder than ever to score a top result in Wales," said Dani. "I haven't got all that much experience of this event, but that doesn't stop me from being something of a fan. It's such a varied rally and the stages aren't too tough on the cars.”
“What I dislike the most is the fog," added the Spaniard. "At night, when the only thing you can see in front of you is a white wall, it really isn't easy. It takes a big effort to push yourself to go faster. On top of that, if you add rain or even snow into the equation, then it's nothing short of a nightmare... but that's what makes it such a legendary event! Winning the Manufacturers' title in Wales would be the best reward I can think of."
Two other C4 WRCs have been entered to contest the British round. They will be in the hands of Conrad Rautenbach / David Senior and of the recently-crowned Junior World Champions Sebastien Ogier / Julien Ingrassia. Both cars will be prepared and run by PH Sport with the support of technical staff from Citroen Sport