Sebastien Ogier thinks his chances of a strong result on Rallye de France this weekend have been boosted by the fact that the event will run on a new route for its return to the World Rally Championship.
The event has moved from Corsica to the French mainland for its return to the WRC calendar after a year away with Ogier going into the weekend looking to keep his slim title hopes alive.
With event being run on asphalt, Ogier will be back with the Citroen Junior Team and the youngster said he hoped the new route would work to his advantage.
“With a new rally like this we start on an equal footing with everyone else in terms of experience,” he said. “That was the case in Bulgaria earlier this year as well, where we managed to set some good stage times. We need to make sure that we do a good job during the recce so that we are right on the pace from the very first run through the stages.
“I've got every confidence that the team will soon find the right set-up for the Citroen C4 WRC in these conditions. The goal for us is to be as close as possible to the very best…”
Ogier will be competing in a WRC car for the first time on home soil and he said he was looking forward to running in front of his home fans.
“It's going to be a real pleasure driving at home in France,” he said. “We're going to be able to rely on the loyal support of our fans, even though I imagine that all of Alsace will be behind Sebastien Loeb!
“It feels a little bit like going back to my roots as I drove in Alsace before in 1997, which was only my second season of rallying. But I'm not putting any extra pressure on myself. It's a new rally and it will be important to prepare for it well on the recce. It's going to be vital to have the right pace notes. And that's an area in which myself and [co-driver] Julien Ingrassia are quite strong.”