Sebastien Loeb was cagey on his plans for the future after taking a brilliant third win in Finland – and his sixth of the year.
Loeb led from start-to-finish in his Citroen DS3 WRC, and while he was chased throughout by team-mate, Mikko Hirvonen, in the end he triumphed by 6.1 seconds. The result further increases his lead in the drivers' championship, as he bids for his ninth title, but when asked at the finish whether or not he will try to win in Jyväskylä for a fourth time in 2013, Loeb was giving nothing away.
“Yes [you will definitely see me next year here]! Maybe in the rally car or maybe to watch the rally,” he teased.
Pressed on when he might make his decision public, assuming he has made one, Seb added: “I don't know. But not now...”
As for the event itself, Loeb said the feeling he got from his car was the key to his success: “Since the start of the rally, the feeling was perfect with the car. From shakedown, qualifying, the first stage: everything went very well and I felt very confident in the car. That's the base if you want to push hard,” he commented. “You are high speed between the trees and you have to be sure what you are doing. Everything was perfect.”
So how pleasing was the result? “I am really pleased to have clinched this third win here against a competitor as tenacious as Mikko. To win Finland is always something special. It's a special rally and the roads are incredible,” he continued. “The jumps are big and the speed very high. For sure it's a great moment to win and to be here having two Finnish drivers on each side is great.
“We pushed a lot, sometimes driving close to the limit. To drive like that, you need to have a car which you have total faith in. The upgrades made this weekend to the DS3 WRC, especially on the shock absorbers, enabled us to move up another notch in terms of performance.”
Asked how it compares to his previous wins in Finland back 2008 and 2011, Loeb added that he could drive within himself more this year: “I really had the feeling that it was under control, not that we could win, but the feeling with the car was really perfect. The first year I won I had to take risks, there were some big moments sometimes,” he recalled. “Last year, still I had to make some more time than I am able to. This year was a good feeling, it was perfect.”
So did he feel under pressure on the final day? “For sure when I started the day I was sure of nothing. I knew the day was going well and the feeling was good and I had to try again. The rhythm was there and pushing, I felt well in the car. I was able to do the times with no mistakes or moments. It's what I said: it was the perfect weekend,” he added.
The WRC now goes to Germany and while Loeb will be the undoubted favourite there, he isn't taking anything lightly: “Maybe [somebody will challenge me there], you never know. For sure I have had a lot of success in Germany. Last year I didn't win [after a puncture on day two], but it's a rally where I feel well. The feeling was always good there. I hope to fight there, but you never know. Sometimes it has been a really intense battle and the weather can make it very difficult. I will try my best.”