Defending champion Sebastien Loeb has vowed not to give his rivals the chance to fight back on Rallye Deutschland as he looks to build on his victory last time out in Finland.

The Citroen star became only the fourth driver from outside Finland and Sweden to win in Finland last time out after coming out on top of a three-day long battle for victory with main title rival Mikko Hirvonen; the pair being split by just nine seconds after the completion of the 24th and final stage.

That win has seen Loeb close to within a point of Hirvonen in the title race but the Frenchman goes into the Rallye Deutschland as the man to beat, having been the only driver to take victory on the asphalt event since it became part of the WRC calendar back in 2002. Indeed, Citroen is unbeaten in Germany since 2001 with Philippe Bugalski having taken the final win before the event secured WRC status.

Should Loeb maintain that record this time around, then he will move to head of the standings regardless of where Hirvonen is able to finish, and having beaten the Ford man in his own back yard, Loeb said he was looking to now continue his love affair with the German stages in the tenth round of the year.

"Following our win in Finland, on the home soil of our main rivals, we have no intention of letting them strike back on an event that has always been favourable to us," the Frenchman, who has won six of the nine events held so far this season, said. "I have tended to enjoy a certain amount of success on the Rallye Deutschland, but it has never been an easy event to win. It has often been a very close run thing. I am looking forward to this year's visit to Germany because we will no doubt have lots of supporters there. However, it's a rally that calls for great caution because the stages can be extremely treacherous.

"We will be looking to win; not to take our score to seven consecutive wins in Trier but because that would be give our chances in both championships a big boost. The Citroen C4 is very competitive on this sort of terrain and we will endeavour to make the most of that. We will also face the delights of tyre choices for the first time in quite a while.

"I don't know how big an effect that will have on the way the event unfolds, but we will do our best to make the right calls every time."


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