1: Loeb chasing number nine
Two years ago Sebastien Loeb won his seventh World Rally Championship drivers’ title amid hugely emotional scenes in his home town of Haguenau and it’s odds-on the 38-year-old will repeat that feat this week. Loeb has to finish ahead of his Citroen team-mate Mikko Hirvonen to make sure his unbeaten run of nine world titles is sealed in Strasbourg.
2: Strasbourg superspecial
World Rally Cars racing through the city streets is always one of the most spectacular sights in world motorsport - and this year’s Rallye de France Alsace offers no less than three separate locations for fans of the urban side of the sport. In addition to the crowd pleasers in Mulhouse and Haguenau, the French organisers will include a stage through the centre of Strasbourg, starting right outside the European parliament building. What a way to start the rally.
3: Sebastien the third...
First there was one, then there was two, now there are three Sebastiens at the front of the World Rally Championship with Chardonnet competing in a World Rally Car for the first time on a WRC round in France this week. And the omens for the 23-year-old to follow in the footsteps of Sebs Loeb and Ogier are good: Chardonnet finished third on a test event in his Citroen DS3 WRC just over a week ago.
4: Sordo looking for six seconds
Prodrive WRC Team driver Dani Sordo came within six seconds of delivering a dream result in the debut season for the MINI John Cooper Works WRC on Rallye de France Alsace last year. The Spaniard was second to then Citroen driver Sebastien Ogier, but with a year’s development behind the Prodrive car and a more determined Sordo than ever, could this be the event where he and MINI top the WRC podium for the first time?
5: Muller’s back on the block
Yvan Muller knows better than most how to drive a saloon car on asphalt - but there’ll be none of that tin-top madness jostling for position at the apex of the first corner this week for the three-time World Touring Car champion. This week it’s just him, his co-driver and a MINI John Cooper Works WRC and the Alsatian lanes he grew up on. After a couple of troubled outings on Rallye de France Alsace, the other local hero will be hoping his home event is kind to him this week.