Sebastien Ogier has said he will adopt a 'happy-go-lucky' approach on Rallye Deutschland next week, although he heads to the event 'full of confidence' and believes there is no reason he shouldn't be able to win again.
Ogier has won five of the eight events so far this season and has an outside chance of clinching the WRC Drivers' Championship in Trier.
He currently has 181-points on the board, 90 more than his closest rivals, team-mate, Jari-Matti Latvala and Qatar M-Sport's Thierry Neuville, who have both scored 91.
If he is to take the title in Germany he will need to pull a further 22 points clear, meaning he will need to win, and hope Latvala and Neuville score less than 3 points, so finish no higher than ninth - although of course the points on offer from the Power Stage further complicates matters.
“I am trying to take a totally happy-go-lucky approach to Rallye Deutschland,” Ogier said in the countdown to the ninth round in the 2013 World Rally Championship. “A win would obviously be a hugely important step towards the title. And the World Championship is my dream for this season.
“However, when you look at the current standings, I do not necessarily have to win at all costs. My goal will be to maintain my lead in the Drivers' Championship.”
“Having said that, victory in Germany would be fantastic for my team,” he added. “They more than deserve it. Our team is making all the difference at the moment. We head to Germany full of confidence. To be perfectly honest: why shouldn't we win there?”
Volkswagen Motorsport director Jost Capito meanwhile is more cautious ahead of the team's home event. Indeed given Citroen's record in Germany – the French manufacturer has won the event every single year since 2002, when it first appeared in the WRC – he maintains VW isn't necessarily the favourite, although all of those wins came with Sebastien Loeb, with the exception of 2011, when Ogier won.
Volkswagen has also prepared 'meticulously' for Rallye Deutschland with all three crews - Ogier, Latvala and Andreas Mikkelsen - testing around Veldenz in July.
“The Rally Germany is a special event for Volkswagen in every regard,” Capito stated. “In theory, Sebastien [Ogier] and Julien [Ingrassia – his co-driver] could win the titles in both the Drivers' and Co-Drivers' championships. Furthermore, the Rally Germany is also our home rally as a team. However, it is also the first rally of the year that will be held solely on asphalt. Our rivals at Citroen have dominated this kind of rally for almost a decade, so we are very much the outsiders.
“Despite this, we can line up full of confidence. Before we made our debut, nobody would have believed what a successful season we have had so far – not in their wildest dreams. To finish on the podium in Germany too, we will have to do everything right as a team. That is our goal.”