Sebastien Loeb has said that winning in Finland this coming weekend is not his 'out-and-out objective'.
Loeb heads to Jyväskylä for the eighth round in the 2011 World Rally Championship with a 17-point lead over Ford's Mikko Hirvonen in the battle for the drivers' title, and he has admitted his main priority will be to maintain his position at the top of the drivers' standings.
Indeed Seb knows only too well how difficult an event it is to win, and while he has managed it before, coming out top in 2008, he will no doubt be happy with another podium – something he has managed on the '1000 Lakes' every single year since 2005.
“We're going to be up against highly-motivated rivals who are ready to defend their territory. The titles at the end of the season are still our main priority. Victory in Finland isn't an out-and-out objective,” confirmed the Citroen World Rally Team man, who is looking to win the drivers' crown for the eighth time in a row.
“Depending on how I feel I'll see how hard I want to push. So far I've felt very much at ease on gravel in the DS3 WRC. If that's how I feel in Finland, it'll give my confidence an extra boost!
“But it's not my favourite terrain. Maybe these roads don't suit my natural style of driving. On the other hand the Finns are very much at home on them. They probably feel they're taking fewer risks in an environment they know like the back of their hand. I remember that I had to give 200 percent to win this rally [in 08].”
Team-mate Sebastien Ogier meanwhile has no such reservations and he is determined to push for his fourth win of the season in a bid to claw back more ground on his fellow countryman in the drivers' championship. Ogier is currently third in the standings on 124 points – 22 behind Loeb.
“I'm going to do everything I can to be on the pace right from the first stage,” said Ogier, who enjoyed a great Rally Finland last year, finishing second, only 10 seconds behind the winner.
“It's important to bag a big haul of points in Finland. We know it's going to be a difficult rally against local drivers who are always redoubtable on their home turf. But a victory here isn't beyond our grasp.
"My aim is to put myself in a confident frame of mind right from the green light and to really push in the opening kilometres. That's what was missing last year,” he summed-up.