Sebastien Loeb says he expects a tough challenge as he looks to defend his World Rally Championship title in 2011, although the Frenchman insists his motivation remains as high as ever.
The Frenchman goes into the new season looking to take the title for the eighth successive season, but will be faced with the challenge of a new car built to new regulations in the shape of the Citroen DS3 WRC.
With rivals Ford also bringing in a new car for the WRC's new era, Loeb admitted he was unsure how the season would pan out but said he was ready for the challenges that will be thrown his way.
“It's a new challenge with far more unknown factors than in previous years,” he said. “Our rivals have developed their cars and we'll have to wait for the opening rallies to establish a hierarchy.
“But even before that I have to be quicker than the guys who have the same car as me. Beating Sebastien Ogier and Petter Solberg will be a tough challenge! I think it'll be a difficult season, but that only serves to boost my motivation even more!”
Loeb has been busy at work helping to develop the DS3 over the winter but he admitted that the Swedish snow might not be the best terrain to show what the car can do.
“I think the teams done a good job, but we haven't achieved the same level of development on all types of terrain,” he said. “We've spent a lot of time on gravel as it's the type of surface we'll race on most frequently in the world championship.
“I reckon we've still got a lot of progress to make on snow, but it's difficult to calculate as we haven't really got a basis for comparison given the way the new regulations have radically modified the cars' behaviour.”