Sebastien Loeb will have just one aim on the Repco Rally Australia this coming weekend and that will be to return to winning ways with a view to keeping his chances of scoring a sixth consecutive WRC drivers' title alive.

Loeb finished second last time out in Finland, but with Mikko Hirvonen winning and taking the maximum ten points, the gap widened and while the margin is now only three points, the Frenchman is more than aware that with just two rounds left after this one, he can't afford any more slip ups.

Indeed, despite winning the first five events on the trot, Loeb has lost the momentum and the trip 'down under' will be especially tricky, as it will be a step into the unknown now that the round has moved from Perth to New South Wales.

"Our goal is to win, or at least finish ahead of Mikko Hirvonen," Loeb said prior to the tenth round in the 2009 World Rally Championship and the first Rally Australia since 2006.

"As the situation stands at the moment, the way the championship finishes is in my hands. If I win the last three rallies, I will be the World Champion. My mission will become somewhat more complex, however, if Mikko beats me just once!

"This weekend's event promises to be extremely close because Mikko is particularly strong on fast gravel, especially when the stages are new to everyone.

"The way recce goes will be vital, not only in terms of the precision of our pacenotes but also regarding the quality of the information we are able to provide the team in order to decide on the best set-up for the start.

"I feel rested after the recent four-week break and I have nothing against this sort of relaxed rhythm, but it is always a little bit harder to get back into the swing after a month without driving competitively."

Loeb's Citroen Total WRT team-mate Dani Sordo meanwhile is just as motivated and after taking podiums in Portugal, Argentina and Poland is keen to again show just what he can do on the loose.

"I always enjoy discovering new places. Australia is a dream for many because there are few destinations which are further away from Europe," added the Spaniard. "I can't wait to get back behind the wheel of my car. Even though I've been enjoying myself since Rally Finland, I never tire of driving my C4!

"I only contested Rally Australia once when it was based in Perth, and I don't have a particularly fond memory of that because my gearbox broke on the first stage. I really don't know what to expect this time round, although I do know that the stages won't be carpeted with the small round stones which used to make the Perth-based event so difficult.

"As usual, I will try to go as quickly as possible! Citro?n has a lead of 14 points in the 2009 Manufacturers' World Championship standings and my objective in Australia will be to keep the same sort of gap in order to ease the pressure going into the last two rounds. Obviously, if the situation arises, I will also do all I can to help Seb in his bid to win the Driver's title."


Join the conversation - Add your comment

Please login or register to add your comment