WRC »

Loeb wary of Hirvonen

Sebastian Loeb arrives at Rally GB looking to continue his incredible supremacy of consecutive WRC titles.

One round separates Citroen's Sebastian Loeb from achieving an unthinkable eighth consecutive WRC title, as the Frenchman continues to re-write the record books.

However, before the Frenchman can celebrate, he has the small task of seeing off the rejuvenated Mikko Hirvonen, who during the last three rounds has dragged his Ford Fiesta RS WRC right back into contention, just eight points behind with a potential 28 on offer in Wales - including the Power Stage.

The situation that Loeb finds himself in could have been made increasingly uneasy had the defending champion not pulled out a gutsy champions drive to win last time out in Spain. The elder Frenchman also has the luxury of not having to contend with his dangerous younger team-mate Sebastian Ogier, who saw his championship charge end thanks to an engine failure on the Spanish tarmac.

The French record breaker concedes 'it's now or never' in a scenario which reminds him of the 2009 season finale where he was neck and neck with Hirvonen once before.

“The scenario's like the one in 2009," he said. "We started Rally Great Britain neck and neck with Mikko Hirvonen and whoever finished in front of the other was world champion.

"Obviously, it's less stressful trying to win the title when it's not the last event. You can say to yourself that in case of problems there will be other match points! This time it's now or never! We'll just have to ignore the additional pressure caused by what's at stake."

Loeb believes the key to claiming the championship is to simply mirror his rival Hirvonen's rally without taking any risks. With the points advantage, the Frenchman realises he can adjust his pace according to the Finn.

“With a seven-point gap between victory and second place and three points for the best time in the Power Stage, it's not a very comfortable situation," he continued.

"My aim won't be to win at any cost but to run my race depending on Mikko's. It doesn't matter to me if Ogier, [Petter] Solberg or [Jari-Matti] Latvala are in the lead provided I'm in front of my rival."


by Simon Evans



Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Sebastien Loeb (FRA) Daniel Elena (MON), Citroën DS3 WRC, Citroën Total World Rally Team
Sebastien Loeb (FRA) Daniel Elena (MON), Citroën DS3 WRC, Citroën Total World Rally Team
Sebastien Loeb (FRA), Citroën DS3 WRC, Citroën Total World Rally Team
12.02.2017 - 1st place Jari-Matti Latvala (FIN)-Miikka Anttila (FIN) Toyota Yaris WRC, Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT, 2nd place Ott Tanak (EAU)-Martin Jarveoja (EST),Ford Fiesta WRC, M‐Sport World Rally Team and 3rd place Sébastien Ogier (FRA)-Julien Ingrassia (FRA) Ford Fiesta WRC, M‐Sport World Rally Team
12.02.2017 - 1st place Jari-Matti Latvala (FIN)-Miikka Anttila (FIN) Toyota Yaris WRC, Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT, 2nd place Ott Tanak (EAU)-Martin Jarveoja (EST),Ford Fiesta WRC, M‐Sport World Rally Team and 3rd place Sébastien Ogier (FRA)-Julien Ingrassia (FRA) Ford Fiesta WRC, M‐Sport World Rally Team
12.02.2017 - Jukka KETOMÄKI (FIN) - Jarkko ALANEN (FIN) Skoda Fabia R5
12.02.2017 - Gus GREENSMITH (GBR) - Craig PARRY (GBR) Ford Fiesta R5
12.02.2017 - Gus GREENSMITH (GBR) - Craig PARRY (GBR) Ford Fiesta R5
12.02.2017 - Hiroki ARAI (JPN) - Glenn MACNEALL (AUS) Ford Fiesta R5, Tommi Mäkinen Racing
12.02.2017 - Alexey LUKYANUK (RUS) - Alexey ARNAUTOV (RUS) Ford Fiesta R5
12.02.2017 - Eric Camilli (FRA)-Benjamin Veillas (FRA) Ford Fiesta, M‐Sport World Rally Team
12.02.2017 - Eric Camilli (FRA)-Benjamin Veillas (FRA) Ford Fiesta, M‐Sport World Rally Team
12.02.2017 - Eric Camilli (FRA)-Benjamin Veillas (FRA) Ford Fiesta, M‐Sport World Rally Team
12.02.2017 - Emil BERGKVIST (SWE) - Joakim SJÖBERG (SWE) Citroën DS3 R5
12.02.2017 - Emil BERGKVIST (SWE)  Citroën DS3 R5
12.02.2017 - Jarosław KOLTUN (POL) - Ireneusz PLESKOT (POL) Ford Fiesta R5, C‐Rally
12.02.2017 - Eyvind BRYNILDSEN (NOR) - Anders FREDRIKSSON (SWE) Ford Fiesta R5 Adapta Motorsport AS
12.02.2017 - Ole Christian VEIBY (NOR) Skoda Fabia R5, Printsport

Join the conversation - Add your comment

Please login or register before adding your comments.

Although the administrators and moderators of this website will attempt to keep all objectionable comments off these pages, it is impossible for us to review all messages. All messages express the views of the poster, and neither Crash Media Group nor Crash.Net will be held responsible for the content of any message. We do not vouch for or warrant the accuracy, completeness or usefulness of any message, and are not responsible for the contents of any message. If you find a message objectionable, please contact us and inform us of the problem or use the [report] function next to the offending post. Any message that does not conform with the policy of this service can be edited or removed with immediate effect.


Kasser - Unregistered

November 10, 2011 12:18 AM

I like Mikko, but Loeb deserves the championship this year. He has driven some outstanding rallies, sweeping the road while staying in front of the rest. Mikko has had points handed to him by his teammate (so has Loeb) but in my opinion has not earnt the right to be number 1..... yet. Would love to see a close fight, but Loeb deserves his 8th straight!



© 1999 - 2017 Crash Media Group

The total or partial reproduction of text, photographs or illustrations is not permitted in any form.