Sebastien Loeb has vowed to fight back in Mexico after missing out on victory in the opening round of the World Rally Championship to main rival Mikko Hirvonen.
Loeb headed into the season opener in Sweden admitting that he wasn't the favourite for victory but went into the final day of the event little more than 16 seconds behind his Ford rival in the battle for honours.
Hirvonen was able to extend his lead on the final morning with Loeb suffering a scare on SS18 when he made contact with a snowbank and the Frenchman elected to settle for second place through the afternoon stages rather than risk crashing out.
However, the defending champion vowed to get his revenge when the WRC heads to Mexico for the second round of the year.
“As I've always said, I start each rally with victory as my aim,” Loeb said. “But if I feel that winning isn't within my grasp, I prefer to bag the maximum number of points rather than risk an accident.
“I didn't think I was the favourite for this event and I found myself up against a rival who drove a perfect rally. It's good to start the season with a large haul of points and I'm looking forward to Mexico to get my revenge!”
Team-mate Dani Sordo impressed on the opening day of the event to run third before an error on day two – where shields on the Citroen C4 WRC weren't removed and the car overheated – dropped him down to fourth, a position he held to the finish.
While that leaves Citroen second to Ford in the manufacturers' championship, team boss Olivier Quesnel said it would at least ensure a better road position for both Loeb and Sordo in Mexico next time out.
“On our rivals' favourite surface our performances had nothing to envy theirs,” he said: “Sebastien and Dani both drove great rallies but you can't win them all!
“Our drivers' second and fourth places are a pretty good result in the context of the world championships. And I'd like to finish by adding that we'll be perfectly placed to tackle the specials on the Rally Mexico gravel roads.”