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Loeb says it's vital to win in Spain

Defending champion Sebastien Loeb says he needs a third consecutive victory in this weekend's Rally of Spain if he is to overhaul Marcus Gronholm and retain his world rally crown.

"It is vital to win in Catalunya if we want to keep our options for the title," the 33-year-old Frenchman was quoted as saying on his website.

"At the same time, if my (Citroen) teammate Dani Sordo could manage to finish ahead of Marcus Gronholm in the standings, it would be perfect. We know it won't be easy, but these are our aims for the race. We will try to clinch another victory in 2007."

Although he trails former world champion Gronholm by 10 points in the standings with five races to go, the asphalt rally should favour Loeb.

"It's a good, quick, Tarmac based rally, and very special in some parts," said the triple world champion.

"It's important to use the correct line. I appreciate this and it's one of the rare rallies where it is the case. As with all tarmac rallies, it tends to suit me well."

The two rivals have each won five of the 11 races so far this season with Gronholm's teammate Mikko Hirvonen the only other driver to have managed a victory.

Another driver with a chance of joining the exclusive club of this season's race winners is Spain's Dani Sordo who finished second in his home rally last year.

The first leg gets underway in the coastal town of Salou on Friday.

On the eve of the race there will be a tribute to former world champion and twice winner in Spain Colin McRae, who died together with his young son in a helicopter crash last month.

  © 2015 Reuters. All rights reserved
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