Loeb: Sainz will Surprise

Championship leader Sebastien Loeb believes replacement teammate Carlos Sainz will be a surprise on this weekend's Rally of Turkey

Loeb: Sainz will Surprise

Despite having been out the cockpit for more than seven months, Sainz has been drafted in to replace regular driver Francois Duval, after the Frenchman crashed three times in his first six rallies for the team.

Loeb reckons Sainz will be immediately on the pace because cars starting before him will have cleaned the road for him.

"Watch out for Carlos," Loeb said. "He will start way down the order. Given the potential of the Xsara, if he feels comfortable he could be dangerous."

Sainz is expected to start down in 15th on Friday because the running order for the first leg is decided on championship order.

"The stages are rocky and rough in places," Loeb added, "but there are also places where the surface is quite hard packed. And there is a loose top coating of varying thicknesses to clear and I'll be serving as road sweeper for all of 90 kilometres on Friday and that could be a handicap."

Sainz has spent time with the French team last week ensuring he will be able to use the HANS device, which wasn't mandatory when he competed last season.

Team principal Guy Frequelin said: "For someone with his experience, seven months away isn't really a problem. After such a long break, I think he will be relaxed, rested and very motivated. I think he could surprise us. I have asked him to drive at his own pace, without pushing too hard. I don't want him to take any risks. Carlos will see that the car has evolved and has made a point of keeping up to speed with the work we are doing."

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