Sebastien Loeb insists that team-mate Dani Sordo could be the man to beat on Rally Spain this weekend, although the Frenchman will hope to celebrate his latest WRC title with victory on the mixed surface event.
Loeb wrapped up the title on home soil in France but hasn't had much time to celebrate his latest success, with Citroen having been busy with work on the DS3 WRC that the Frenchman will use as he goes for an eighth title next year.
For 2010, Rally Spain will run as a mixed surface event – leaving Loeb to sweep the road on the opening day on gravel – and he admitted that it would make it tough to fight for victory.
“If the weather's dry I think we'll lose a lot of time by sweeping off the layer of dust on the hard surface,” he said. “In my opinion, Dani Sordo is ideally placed as being fifth out he'll have a clean road in front of him. He can finish the day with a twenty or thirty- second lead. To close such a gap to Dani on asphalt, you have to drive bloody quickly!
“I'll be tackling this rally like any other, and it's not because I've won the title that I'll arrive with my hands in my pockets. I don't like losing and I'll also drive for the fun of it. We'll see how things are shaping up after the first few stages. But it's obvious that I'm not going to take unnecessary risks.”
Spain will be the final time that the C4 WRC will compete on asphalt and having been the car to beat on tarmac in recent years, Loeb said Citroen's target was to ensure its replacement is just as quick.
“It's true that the C4 WRC is particularly well suited to asphalt and with a lot of hard work we've made it very quick,” he said. “I'll try and take advantage of it but I'm ready to turn the page. We'll work hard to make the new DS3 WRC as fast. I can assure you that this new challenge motivates me 110 per cent!”