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Loeb: Clinching title objective in Japan.

Citroen number one driver Sebastien Loeb has said that his priority on the Rally Japan next weekend will be to ensure he does enough to secure the 2008 drivers' title.

Loeb heads to the penultimate round in the FIA World Rally Championship in a commanding position with a 14-point advantage over BP Ford Abu Dhabi's Mikko Hirvonen.

As such as long as he leaves 'The Land of the Rising Sun' with a 10-point cushion he will be guaranteed the crown for the fifth consecutive year - as well as a place in the history books, as no one has ever won the WRC title five times.

"If our rival wins, we will need to come away with at least six points. That means finishing in third place and we will start with that in mind and see how things unfold," he explained.

"We will always have the possibility of adjusting our pace to ensure we stay concentrated and don't make any mistakes.

"I would like to wrap up the title in Japan so that we can focus our attention on winning when we go to Wales."

This year the Rally Japan has moved to the Sapporo region and while the format will be similar to that of its predecessor, the chief difference compared with 2007, concerns the significantly shorter road sections, as well as of course completely new stages.

"It is great news that the road sections are shorter. Having to drive for more than an hour to reach the stages wasn't fun, and it made the day extremely long," Loeb added.

"The new format is much more in keeping with what we are accustomed to in the WRC and we will be able to get in more sleep than has ever been the case in Japan until now!"

Loeb admits though that Japan is not an easy event and last year was disastrous after his co-driver Daniel Elena called out the wrong pace-note and he crashed out in SS13. He has however, won there before, taking P1 in 2006, while he was the runner-up in 2005 and 2004.

"The Rally Japan has always been a particularly complex event. The first time we did the recce, we wondered whether in fact it was possible to stay on the road for three days!

"The stages of the Obihirobased rally were fast, narrow and difficult to commit to memory, and there was always a chance you could be caught out by one of the innumerable changes in grip.

"Moving to another region probably won't make matters any easier. Contesting a new event with the title at stake only adds to the stress, although it's not the first time we have faced this situation. We are also aware of how competitive our C4 is, and we will still have the Wales Rally GB to come afterwards. That takes away some of the pressure, but our objective will be to try to sew up the championship in Japan," he reiterated.


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