5 May 2013
Loeb: I really got into it when I saw that I was on the pace
Sebastien Loeb: Ogier was also quick, but I was a bit more consistent before pulling clear at the end of the second leg. I am pleased to win here for the team; they really deserve it.
Citroen's Sebastien Loeb has said he had to push hard to win Rally Argentina and that it wasn't easy to take his eighth win in succession on the South American event.
Loeb, who has won the World Rally Drivers' title a record nine times, has opted to focus on his career away from rallying this year, although he is still doing four WRC events – this incidentally was his third outing after he also did the opening two rounds in Monte Carlo and Sweden.
Despite being a bit rusty though, he soon emerged as Sebastien Ogier's key rival for the victory and when his fellow countryman lost time with an off on Friday morning, Loeb was there to capitalise to take his 78th career WRC win - and in all likelihood his last on gravel.
“It's pretty incredible to win Rally Argentina for the eighth time running, in front of so many passionate fans,” Loeb said at the finish. “Winning wasn't essential for me, but I really got into it when I saw that I was on the pace. Ogier was also quick, but I was a bit more consistent before pulling clear at the end of the second leg. I am pleased to win here for the team; they really deserve it.”
“It was really a good weekend,” he added, “it was not easy for sure. We had to push hard. There was some pressure and the conditions were quite tricky. [But] finally at the end we are here.”
Pressed on how much he was on the limit, Loeb added that he found the first day especially taxing given he had sat out the events in Mexico and Portugal.
“I was doing my best, that's what I always do. When I start a race I always try to go as fast as possible. I want to compete, I want to fight, to push hard, but Seb was pushing really hard. The start was not easy,” Loeb conceded.
“I started with a set-up that I didn't know and I was doing a lot of little mistakes here and there. I was not completely confident with the car. I think I lost a little bit and the reason is that I have only done one day of testing since last year on gravel.
“It was not easy to come here without any competition. Today Seb is dominating the Championship; everybody speaks about our battle, and all that.
"[But] it was not easy to do it like this. The first stages felt really fast but then the feeling came naturally again, and then I just had to do the set-up on myself and after that it was okay. I got in the game and moved on. It was a nice weekend, a nice battle.”
As for if he will do any more WRC rallies between now and France, Loeb reiterated that is not on his agenda.
“I'm not sure I have time with such a busy programme [of event away from the WRC], it would be complicated and it's not the plan. I decided to retire [from the WRC last year] and okay I decided to [still] do four rallies [this year], but if the programme is to go on with Citroen next year like I hope to, we will have some work to do, so I think it's not a good idea,” he concluded.
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