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WRC NEWS 

Loeb pessimistic about recovery

Sebastien Loeb, Citroen, Sweden 2011Seven-time world champion Sebastien Loeb says he does not expect to improve on his current sixth place in Sweden - a result which would be his worst result on the event since 2003.

Loeb suffered comfortably the worst of the conditions yesterday, when he ran in the deepest snow at the front of the field. While trying to recover time from his tough start, the Frenchman has run into continued tyre problems with the new Michelin cover.

The Citroen DS3 driver is a minute and a half down on his team-mate Sebastien Ogier going into the second half of the rally.

"For the rest of the event, I am looking forward to trying to stay on the road and scoring some points," said Loeb.

He admitted he had pushed on the morning's opener, raising hopes of a repeat of his stunning fightback on last year's Rally New Zealand, but another puncture put paid to that.

"It's difficult with the tyre," said Loeb. "For sure the tyre is less stiff [than last year's Pirelli], but we also have to lower the pressure to find the grip - that's the problem.

"Last year we could drive the Pirelli with quite high pressure and still find the grip, so it was no problem. Now we go a bit too low and we're on the limit with that."

Loeb added: "I was okay in the first stage. I had a tyre out of the rim, then on the second stage I hit the snowbank, on the third I had a puncture, on the last stage I had the tyre off the rim so I didn't want to push in case I had another puncture. Not a great morning."

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