Citroen's Sebastien Loeb has said that he has no choice but to go for the win this weekend in Japan.

Loeb, who is going for his fourth drivers' title on the trot, has won the last two events in succession to cut the gap to Marcus Gronholm at the top of the drivers' championship to just four points.

With only three events left though, the Frenchman is aware that if either he or Gronholm makes a mistake, then it could prove to be decisive.

"I was delighted to have won the back-to-back rounds in Spain and Corsica. That wasn't a foregone conclusion. Everyone said we were favourites, but neither event was easy. We needed to go out and win them," he stated.

"Before Spain, I needed to win the five remaining rallies. After Corsica, I still need to win three.

"We're getting there, but the challenge is as tough as ever. Neither of us can afford to make the slightest mistake."

Loeb has never been a big fan of the Rally Japan though and while he won the event last year after a very close battle with Gronholm, to notch up what was then a record 27th WRC win, he still isn't overly fond of it.

"After the finish of last year's event, all the talk was about the fact that it was our 27th WRC win. Daniel [Elena - my co-driver] and I prefer to recall the way we won it. The fight rarely gets that close, especially on the final day, and I rate it as one of my finest victories," he continued.

"With hindsight and the mountain bike accident I had afterwards, you could say we did the right thing by pulling out all the stops to win. The points we scored avoided us having to compete again at the end of the season.

"Does that make Rally Japan a better event to my eyes though? Possibly. Nobody likes getting up early or driving for hours on road sections but, happily, the stages are interesting.

"The most striking thing about the event, however, is the welcome we receive and the big change it makes to what we are accustomed to."

So will he be targeting another win?

"Given the number of events to come after Japan and also given the current gap in the championship, we don't really have any alternative. We need to try to finish ahead of Marcus. If we succeed, and even if he finishes second, we will still be in with a chance for the title.

"We will have an even better chance, of course, if he finishes lower than second. It won't be easy because he is quick in Japan, but we will try to put the pressure on him," he summed-up.

 

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