Freddy Loix has admitted that he won't be driving flat-out to win the Rally de Curitiba in Brazil next month - but intends to claim top spot in both the event and the Intercontinental Rally Challenge standings.
The 38-year old Peugeot 207 Super 2000 pilot finished second on the Monte Carlo Rally last month, and could move to the top of the IRC table with a strong result on the 5-7 March trip to South America. However, he has vowed to be cautious in order to ensure he reaches the finish of the event, which appears on the IRC schedule for the first time this year.
"This kind of rally suits my driving style because the stages are quite fast with some crests - that's what I like," former WRC regular Loix commented, "I can see the rally being a bit like a sprint because the stages are quite short, but my target will be to take it steady. There are six Super 2000 cars competing and it's important to be in one of the top places at the finish."
Loix also admitted that he will be taking into account of the fact that he hasn't contested a gravel event for eight months.
"I want to show that I can be quick, but my last gravel event was in Russia last July," the Belgian said, "I finished fourth there, but because I have not driven on gravel for a very long time, it will take me some time to find a good rhythm and it's important not to take too many risks."
Loix and his rivals have been given a sneak preview of the stages that will make up the second round of the IRC, courtesy of a DVD of on-board footage filmed from a car driving through the seven different venues.
"It looks like it's going to be a nice rally," the Belgian repeated, "The stages are quite quick and, from looking at the DVD, there will be lots
Peugeot UK ace Kris Meeke, who will compete at the wheel of the Monte Carlo-winning 207 Super 2000 driven by Sebastien Ogier last time out, likened the roads to Italy's round of the World Rally Championship.
"They're a bit like the roads in Sardinia, quite smooth and fast," he noted.
The Rally de Curitiba will be made up of 13 special stages, totalling more than 220 kilometres, among the most demanding of which is expected to be the Bocaiuva test, which is 28 kilometres in length and features 400 curves on undulating roads. It is scheduled for the second day of the two-day rally, which is due to finish at the Autodromo Internacional de Curitiba, the city's racing circuit, on Saturday 7 March, an hour before the start of qualifying for the World Touring Car Championship round which takes place the following day.