Defending WRC champion Sebastien Ogier is expecting stiff competition from nine-time title winner Sebastien Loeb, who is making a one-off appearance at the opening round in Monte Carlo.

Loeb, who will race in a Citroen DS 3, makes a fleeting return to WRC after retiring 14 months ago and will face former rival Ogier in his VW Polo R.

The defending champion said he is happy Loeb will be racing in Monte Carlo but won't feel the pressure to beat his fellow countryman.

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"I expect him to be as competitive as ever," Ogier told WRC.com. "Even if he had a year off [from WRC] he was still in competition. I'm sure he will be back quite strong and it's interesting for the race, but to be honest I don't feel any extra pressure."

The pair have had some historic clashes over the years in WRC and had a turbulent relationship as team mates at Citroen in 2011.

Since then the duo have only gone head-to-head four times, most recently at the 2013 Rallye de France, and each driver has two wins apiece, so Monte Carlo could hold the bragging rights for one driver.

However, Ogier, who took victory in last year's Monte Carlo rally, has played down his rivalry with Loeb.

"It's no real importance, I feel I have nothing to prove against him. It's just an interesting challenge that he's in again," he said.

Loeb said he is preparing to give his best performance at Monte Carlo despite not competing in the WRC for over a year. The 40-year-old, who has 78 wins in World Rally, is confident he can cause a problem for Ogier.

"My ambition is to do my best," Loeb told WRC.com. "I haven't driven for a year. Okay, it's not my priority to win here, but on the other side, when I take the start of a race I always try to do my best. So I will try to prepare as well as possible and do my best."