Loeb to Control Pace

Sebastien Loeb will control his pace in this weekend's Rally Japan to ensure he clinches the World Rally championship

Loeb to Control Pace

Loeb needs just to finish third in the event to secure his second consecutive crown, after he forfeited the chance to win the title at the Wales Rally GB through taking a time penalty to drop to third in the wake of Michael Park's death.

The Citroen driver, who has won nine of 13 rounds this season, promised not to take any unnecessary risks to fight for the win so he can attempt to win the next round, the Rally Corsica, without the title hanging over his head.

"My priority will be the championship," Loeb said. "I won't surprise anybody if I say I will start at a pace at which I feel comfortable.

"If my natural pace enables me to challenge for victory, then I will go for it. If I see that keeping up with the leader - or leaders - means that I have to take excessive risks, then I will concentrate on the championship and try to wrap it up in Japan.

"It will be nice to be able to go to Corsica with a free mind. The Tour of Corsica is one of the rallies I really do want to win. The Rally Japan is not one of the events I want to win the most."

Loeb, who finished second in last year's maiden Rally Japan, believes the stages will carry risks with them because of the tall grass that lines some of the Japanese verges.

"Japanese stages are narrower than those in the Welsh forests, and we don't have a clear line of sight because of the tall grass that grows either side of the road," he added.

"This caused problems for some crews with their pacenotes. Cutting corners can be a bit risky too since the tall grass can conceal a ditch or something hard. Just two passes during recce isn't enough to be 100 per cent sure."

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