Ogier says Loeb win in Rally of France would 'shadow' WRC title
|By David Evans||Tuesday, September 24th 2013, 16:05 GMT|
Sebastien Ogier says Sebastien Loeb winning the Rally of France would put a "shadow" on his coronation as 2013 World Rally champion.
Volkswagen driver Ogier needs only one more point to clinch his first WRC title, and even if he fails to score, anything less than maximum points for Thierry Neuville will mean the Frenchman still takes the crown on his home rally.
Ogier's arch-rival Loeb is returning for the Rally of France for his final farewell to the WRC.
For Ogier, becoming champion with a mediocre result or failure while Loeb wins their home event is a nightmare scenario.
"I will go there for the victory," said Ogier.
"The only point which would make a bad situation for me, of course, [is] if Seb Loeb wins the rally and I got trouble or something.
"Then it will be a bit of a shadow on my championship against his victory again and I think I don't deserve that."
Ogier was poised to clinch the title in the last round in Australia only for Neuville to move up to second at the last moment when Mikko Hirvonen got a puncture, giving the Belgian enough points to keep the fight open.
Loeb has not competed in a world championship event since winning Rally Argentina at the start of May and has not competed on a pure asphalt rally since France 12 months ago.
But despite that time away from his factory Citroen DS3 WRC, Ogier says Loeb will still be a threat in France.
"I know he is able to go straight to top speed," said Ogier.
"He has been out of rallying for some months, but every week he is still racing and driving cars - I'm sure he is still in the rhythm of the competition.
"Tarmac is really his surface and he knows this rally very well, I'm sure he will be there [at the front]."
Both drivers are Rally of France winners and have fought hard on the three rallies Loeb contested earlier this season.
Loeb won the season-opening Monte Carlo Rally, but was forced to give best to a flying Ogier in Sweden. Loeb then won in South America.