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Loeb: Goal we are aiming for is within reach.

Citroen's Sebastien Loeb remained focused on his objective on day two of the Rally Japan - namely to take third place and sow up his fifth world title.

The Frenchman, who currently leads Mikko Hirvonen by 14 points, will go to Wales Rally GB ten points in front of the Finn, assuming they finish in the same positions in Sapporo on Sunday. That would put him out of reach, as even if Seb failed to score on the final round in the World Rally Championship and Mikko won, he would still end the year top as he has notched up more victories.

Loeb thus paced himself throughout Saturday's ten tests and while he did win one stage, he opted for caution whenever he deemed it prudent.

"It's no secret that I prefer competing to win. Today, though, it was necessary to keep a cool head. The forest tracks to the south of Sapporo were just as narrow as those we visited on Day 1, but they were faster, too, which means we ran a higher risk of making a mistake," he stated.

"Whenever I felt that the conditions were a little too treacherous, I didn't hesitate to brake earlier than normal. There's a great deal at stake here and I didn't want to risk throwing it all away.

"We just tried to stay focused on our objective which was to consolidate our third place, and I think we succeeded quite well. There is a little less than 100km of stages to come tomorrow. The goal we are aiming for is within reach, but we will need to stay concentrated until the very end."

Dani Sordo meanwhile, who was forced out with a turbo problem on Friday, re-started this morning under the SupeRally format and he set a number of good times as he hauled himself up from 63rd overnight to 18th post-SS20.

"Both crews accomplished the missions they were given today," Citroen boss Olivier Quesenl summed up. "Sébastien and Daniel [Elena] reinforced their position without taking any risks, and they now have a cushion of more than a minute and a half over the crew in fourth place.

"As for Dani and Marc [Marti], they succeeded in making the most of the free rein they were given to showcase the competitiveness of the C4 over this sort of terrain.

"I'm glad that today's 156km of stages are over. There are still 96.43km to come, however, and I have to admit that I can't wait for them to be behind us, too."


Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Sebastian Loeb (F) Daniel Elena (MC) Citroen C4 WRC
21.05.2017 - 1st place Sébastien Ogier (FRA)-Julien Ingrassia (FRA) Ford Fiesta WRC, M‐Sport World Rally Team, 2nd place Thierry Neuville (BEL)-Nicolas Gilsoul (BEL) Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC, Hyundai Motorsport and 3rd place Dani Sordo (ESP)-Marc Marti (ESP),Hyundai i2 Coupe WRC, Hyundai Motorsport
21.05.2017 - Fabio Andolfi (ITA) Manuel Fenoli (ITA) HYUNDAI i20 R5, ACI TEAM ITALIA
21.05.2017 - HIROKI ARAI (JPN) - GLENN MACNEALL (AUS) FORD FIESTA R5, TOMMI MÄKINEN RACING
21.05.2017 - HIROKI ARAI (JPN) - GLENN MACNEALL (AUS) FORD FIESTA R5, TOMMI MÄKINEN RACING
21.05.2017 - TEEMU SUNINEN (FIN) - MIKKO MARKKULA (FIN) FORD FIESTA R5, M-SPORT WORLD RALLY TEAM
21.05.2017 - Pontus Tidemand (SWE)-Jonas Andersson (SWE) Skoda Fabia R5 WRC2, Skoda Motorsport
21.05.2017 - Andreas Mikkelsen (NOR)-Anders Jaeger (NOR) SKODA FABIA R5, SKODA MOTORSPORT
21.05.2017 - Andreas Mikkelsen (NOR)-Anders Jaeger (NOR) SKODA FABIA R5, SKODA MOTORSPORT
21.05.2017 - JEAN-MICHEL RAOUX (FRA) - THOMAS ESCARTEFIGUE (FRA) CITROEN DS3 WRC
21.05.2017 - Valeriy Gorban (UKR)-Sergei Larens (EST) BMW‐Mini John Cooper Works, Eurolamp World Rally Team
21.05.2017 - Martin Prokop (CZE) - Jan Tomanek (CZE) Ford Fiesta RS WRC, ONEBET JIPOCAR WORLD RALLY TEAM
21.05.2017 - Martin Prokop (CZE) - Jan Tomanek (CZE) Ford Fiesta RS WRC, ONEBET JIPOCAR WORLD RALLY TEAM
21.05.2017 - SHEIK KHALID AL QASSIMI (ARE) - CHRIS PATTERSON (GBR) CITROEN C3 WRC, CITROËN TOTAL ABU DHABI WRT
21.05.2017 - SHEIK KHALID AL QASSIMI (ARE) - CHRIS PATTERSON (GBR) CITROEN C3 WRC, CITROËN TOTAL ABU DHABI WRT
21.05.2017 - Mads Ostberg (NOR)-Ola Floene (NOR) Ford Fiesta WRC, M‐Sport World Rally Team
21.05.2017 - Mads Ostberg (NOR)-Ola Floene (NOR) Ford Fiesta WRC, M‐Sport World Rally Team
21.05.2017 - Essapeka Lappi (FIN) Janne Ferm (FIN), TOYOTA YARIS WRC, TOYOTA GAZOO RACING WRT

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