Sebastien Loeb believes that Rally Portugal this weekend will give the first indication of who has the upper hand between Citroen and Ford in the 2011 World Rally Championship.
The rival manufacturers have one win apiece so far, with Mikko Hirvonen winning in Sweden and Loeb then coming out on top in Mexico.
However, both of those events are regarded as specialist challenges, with Sweden the only snow rally on the calendar and Mexico being run at altitude – which in turn has an effect one engine power and drivability.
As a result, Portugal this weekend is likely to be the first event held in 'normal' conditions and Loeb said it would be interesting to see how the order stood during the third round of the year.
“The Citroen DS3 WRCs were very quick in Mexico, but Citroen has always dominated their rivals in this rally,” he said. “If the weather is good in Portugal, we'll find out just how competitive the cars really are in fairly standard conditions: namely, those similar to the ones we'll have to cope with in several other rallies.
“This race combines all the difficulties we'll meet in the championship. The rhythm changes often from quick sections to more twisty ones with lots of crests that require very accurate pace notes.
“Our aim is to do as well as in Mexico and that means only one thing - victory!”