Sebastien Loeb will have his first chance to secure the 2010 World Rally Championship title this weekend as the series returns to Japanese soil.
Loeb has already secured the championship crown in Japan on two occasions in the past – wrapping up the title in both 2005 and 2008 during the event – and could lift the crown for a seventh successive year if results go his way this weekend.
Currently, five drivers can still mathematically take the title heading into the event, but if Loeb can extend his lead to 75 points, he will add another championship to his glittering resume with three rounds still to run.
Should Loeb win, team-mate Sebastien Ogier will need to finish higher than sixth to ensure the title battle goes on.
“Before that happens there's still a lot of ground to cover,” Loeb said. “Like all the rounds of the World Rally Championship, Rally Japan has its particularities.
“To be quite honest, I can't say it's one of my favourite events. The stages aren't all that exciting and the fact that they're very narrow doesn't really encourage you to let rip behind the steering wheel! However, I think we'll be in pretty good shape with the C4 WRC. The car's reached the end of its development and we know the kind of setup to use on this type of surface.”
If Loeb fails to take the title this weekend, his next chance to secure the crown would come on home soil but he said he wasn't fussed where he clinches the championship.
“I don't think you choose the place where you're going to win the title,” he said. “All I want is to win as soon as possible and I'll do everything to achieve this. If I'm in the lead and Sebastien Ogier is only sixth, I'm certainly not going to slow down to put off the date. There's no sense in that.
“We work like crazy to obtain the best possible results. In any case, winning the title in Japan doesn't depend on me alone but also on the positions of the other contenders. Let sport roll the dice!”