Sebastien Ogier has pinpointed who he sees as his biggest rivals for victory at this weekend’s Rally Sweden as he aims to preserve his perfect start to the 2018 World Rally Championship.

The three-time Rally Sweden winner clinched victory at the 2018 season opener at Monte Carlo last month and is eager to maintain his momentum at the only snow event on the WRC calendar as he hunts a sixth consecutive world title.

Ogier, who failed to win a single stage at last year’s Rally Sweden on his way to third place behind Jari-Matti Latvala and Ott Tanak, says his Scandinavian rivals will be his biggest cause for concern this weekend.

While Latvala looks for a second straight win in Sweden he will face intense competition from Toyota team-mate and fellow Finnish driver Esapekka Lappi while Ogier also tips Hyundai’s Andreas Mikkelsen, Citroen’s Mads Ostberg and his own M-Sport Ford team-mate Teemu Suninen - all from the Scandinavian region and familiar with racing on snow - as his dangerous rivals at the iconic event.

“It looks as though we are in for a true winter rally next week with everything needed for a classic Rally Sweden,” Ogier said. “Reports from the region suggest that there’s a good ice base and high snow banks which is everything a driver wants to hear ahead of this event.

“We got the season off to a great start last month, but we all know how strong the competition is and we’re expecting it to be even stronger next week. The Scandinavians are always strong here, but we plan to give them a hard time and secure another strong haul of points for our championship defence.”

 “In those conditions, we can reach incredible speeds and lean the cars on the snow banks to help guide us through the corners. It’s an amazing feeling, but it’s not without its challenges.

“There’s certainly an art to driving on snow and you need to be precise. You have to judge the strength of the snow banks perfectly and – with more snow than previous years – there could be a lot of work to do on the Pacenotes.”