Sebastien Loeb has suggested that he may not push for victory in Rally Finland and will instead focus on securing strong points for his World Rally Championship challenge.
Loeb leads the way going into an event he has won on two occasions in the past – the only non-Finn to have achieved the feat – and holds a healthy 38 point advantage over team-mate Mikko Hirvonen
in the standings.
The defending champion has already won five times in seven starts so far in 2012 but he suggested that chasing win number six wasn't his main focus for the weekend ahead.
“I say the same thing every year, this is not my favourite rally,” he said. “The stages are magnificent, but the trees are bit too close to the road for my liking. I have always managed to avoid going off, undoubtedly because I don't go flat out if I don't feel totally comfortable behind the wheel.
“To be totally honest, it is difficult to say whether I'll be going for the win or not. I've got such a healthy lead in the World Championship that I don't need to take any risks. But if I feel that I am capable of winning, then I'll go for it.”
Team boss Yves Matton meanwhile said he was confident that both Loeb and Hirvonen would be able to challenge near the front.
“I think our rivals will be prepared and eager to fight back,” he said. “They'll be going all out to end our run of victories. But Seb and Mikko will give as good as they get from the likes of Latvala, Solberg, Ostberg, etc. Our drivers are capable of pushing from start to finish, and they'll need to do so to ensure Citroën wins this legendary rally once again.”