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WRC NEWS 

Loeb positive despite Sweden defeat

Sebastien LoebSebastien Loeb says he is not downbeat about his start to this season's World Rally Championship, after finishing second on the season-opening Rally Sweden earlier this month.

The Frenchman, who won the first five rounds of last year's World Rally Championship, heads to next week's Rally Mexico aiming to maintain a winning record in Leon which stretches back to 2006.

Loeb said: "We can't really say that the championship's got off to a bad start with our second place in Sweden but I'm not going to let Mikko Hirvonen open up a gap in the overall classification. A win would put us on level pegging."

Loeb added that he expected the gravel stages around Guanajuato to suit his Citroen C4 WRC.

"The route's an interesting one from a driver's point of view. The stages aren't too hard on the car. Our C4 WRC will be very much at home on this type of terrain, which we know very well. But I'm not going to make any predictions as we haven't raced in such conditions for six months."

Despite his strong record in Mexico, Loeb said he would remain on his guard following Hirvonen's strong start to the season.

Loeb added: "Mikko Hirvonen has made a lot of progress recently and he's going to start the rally full of confidence and motivation. Last year, he lost the title by a point and I know he won't give an inch this season! I think Dani will put on a good performance again.

"Although he's a little less experienced than Mikko he's improving at exactly the same rate. He's got every reason to show what he can do and to win."

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