Sebastien Loeb has admitted that it isn't out of the question that he could secure a clean-sweep of victories in the World Rally Championship this season, although the Frenchman concedes that his main objective remains to retain his championship crown.
The Citroen driver has won each of the three events held so far this season to establish his position at the head of the standings and will look to make it four wins in a row as the series heads to Portugal – an event which will mark the first outing for the 2009-homologated C4 WRC, featuring modifications to the engine, gearbox and suspension.
With Portugal being the first all-gravel event of the year, Loeb admitted that a strong performance could set the tone for the remainder of the season, with an impressive outing on the event likely to be a pre-cursor to solid gravel runs on rallies still to come during the year.
“The Citroen C4 WRC is competitive on all the different types of surface, as our recent successes in the rain in Ireland, on snow in Norway and on the mixed-surface Cyprus Rally show," he said. "Portugal marks the return of a more conventional format. If we are competitive here, it would suggest that we are also likely to be strong on the year's other gravel rounds.
"We kicked off the season with three very specific rallies, and Portugal is the first round to feature a more conventional format and spirit. Given the level we have reached with the development of the C4 WRC, we have a shrewd idea of where we stand. In Cyprus, for example, we worked from the same basic set-up we used in Wales. That suggests that our car is versatile enough to adapt to all types of terrain."
Having dominated the title battle last season with eleven wins from 15 starts, Loeb is now being tipped to produce a clean-sweep this year but he admitted he wasn't thinking about the possibility of winning all twelve events over the course of the campaign and was more focused on a sixth drivers title.
"I start every event with the intention of winning,” he said. “We will push hard from the start and see how things unfold.
"On paper, I know we are capable of winning every event, so a grand slam isn't out of the question, but twelve rallies is a lot. Last year, we won eleven rounds from 15, and we are enjoying a good run at the moment, but it's really not the sort of thing I think about. I take each outing as it comes, and our main objective is the title."