Citroen team leader, Sebastien Loeb has said that he will be more fired up than ever now after losing the lead in the drivers' championship.

Loeb went into Rally Poland last weekend with a seven-point advantage over arch rival, Mikko Hirvonen. However a mistake on the first day when he crashed out in SS4 - the 33.17 kilometre Paprotki 1 test, cost him any chance of getting a decent result.

The Frenchman, who had been running second, just 0.3 seconds behind the eventual winner, was forced to retire when he clouted a tree stump near the start of the test, only the third 'proper' stage of the event. The impact damaged the suspension on his Citroen C4 WRC and ripped off a front wheel.

It was his second crash in as many events following his one in Greece earlier this month and after losing third in Sardinia too - when he was handed a time penalty for a seat belt violation - another blow to his championship hopes.

Despite the disappointment though, and despite dropping right down the leader-board, over 15 minutes off a place in the top ten, he re-joined on day two under the SupeRally and still scored.

Indeed he hauled himself back up and thanks to a helping hand on the last day, with Citroen Junior Team men, Conrad Rautenbach and Evgeny Novikov both slowing to allow him passed, and Jari-Matti Latvala's last stage drama, he finished seventh.

While P7 wasn't the result he was after, given how things had looked on the Friday, two drivers' points and three manufacturers' points was a pretty good save.

"I obviously can't be satisfied with seventh place, but we did succeed in salvaging something from the weekend," said Loeb.

"Given the way things stand after this rally, I think the points we managed to secure here could turn out to be very valuable at the end of the year. I am now more fired up than ever for the next rounds."

As for what happened on the opening leg, Loeb was philosophical about the off, adding he was just unfortunate.

"There was a tree stump on our line and we hit it," he continued. "It wasn't in our pacenotes, and neither Dani Sordo nor S?bastien Ogier had noted it either. You can't see it on the video. It's just bad luck.

"It's often said in France that you never get two in a row, without a third, and Friday's incident was our third setback in succession.

"We had a seven point lead [coming into this event] and now we are one point behind Hirvonen. That is it. It is still close."


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