Citroen's Sebastien Ogier will start the Rallye Deutschland this week as one of the favourites to take the glory in the Junior World Rally Championship category.

Ogier, who currently leads the race for the J-WRC crown, was powerless to stop Suzuki's Michal Kosciuszko from cutting his advantage to just 2 points in Finland two weeks ago.

Indeed while the Equipe de France FFSA-backed driver took in the '1000 Lakes', he did so in a C2-R2 MAX and was not eligible to score J-WRC points, as it was not one of his six nominated events.

Now though it is Kosciuszko's turn to skip an event - and Ogier will want to make the most of the absence of his key rival, although he knows the Trier-based event won't be easy.

Ogier took in the Eifel Rally last month in his Citroen C2 Super 1600 in order to learn all about the German roads and he has said now that he would be more than happy with a rostrum finish this Sunday.

"I think the Rallye Deutschland will be quite a difficult event. The weather conditions are always changing and that will make it quite difficult for us to find good and consistent grip," he explained. "Although there's a high-quality field though, I still think a podium is possible. Our key rivals will be absent, but the other C2 Super 1600 drivers are certain to provide some stern opposition for the top places.

"Given our position in the championship, we can't afford to make any mistakes. So our goal will be to finish as high up the order as we can, without attempting the impossible!"

Germany meanwhile has always been a good event for Citroen since it joined the WRC in 2002 - and in addition to Sebastien Loeb's six successive wins at the 'senior' level, the French manufacturer has also done well in the J-WRC, winning the class in 2005, 2006 and 2007, thanks to Dani Sordo, Kris Meeke and Martin Prokop respectively.

In addition with seven of the 13 J-WRC runners in Citroens this weekend - as well as no Kosciuszko, Jaan Molder and Patrik Sandell - the odds are definitely favourable for the C2 S1600 to win the J-WRC class for the fourth year on the trot.

"We start this rally with an advantage as it has been won by a Citroen C2 on the last three occasions," added Jean-Francois Lienere, who is in charge of Citroen Sport's customer competition programme. "We hope to do the same again this year, as our cars have already shown themselves to be very competitive on both asphalt and gravel.

"We really do hope to return as the winners again. The fact that our three biggest rivals have decided not to nominate this event gives us an even better opportunity, hopefully leaving the way clear for our Citroen C2s in the Super 1600 category," he summed-up.


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