Loeb urged to take caution

World Rally Championship leader Sebastien Loeb has been warned by his Citroen colleagues to stay calm during this weekend's Rallye de France in Corsica, which could see him clinch his first drivers' world title and the French manufacturer its second straight makes' championship

Loeb urged to take caution

"Sebastien needs to stay calm," said Loeb's team-mate Carlos Sainz, a double world champion himself. "Given how he went last year, he is the favourite and he will obviously want to win. But he mustn't take any risks.

"He needs to adjust his pace as a function of how the other drivers go, not make any mistakes and force himself, at least initially, to forget about the championship stakes. If he has to choose between taking risks to win or making sure of the championship, my recommendation is that the title is more important than victory in Corsica..."

But Corsica is Loeb's home event and he admits that he would like to sign the championship off with a victory, particularly after driving conservatively for the last three events as arch-rival Petter Solberg took victories in each.

"If I said I didn't want to win, who would believe me?" said Loeb. "Last year, I was leading until the eighth stage when I made a mistake that could easily have gone unpunished but which ended up costing me ten minutes. I love Corsica. I love the rally; it's the Rally of France. I believe we pleased our many fans on the Monte Carlo and in Germany and I would like to think we could do the same in Corsica. I also believe that winning would be an elegant way to clinch the championship..."

Citroen team chief Guy Frequelin has made it perfectly clear what the company line will be however and has demanded that Loeb makes the championship his priority. "I will tell him that it's not the moment to be playing at samurais," said Frequelin. "He could end up committing hara-kiri. The lead we have pulled out is too valuable to be thrown away.

"I have personally been in a position where I have had to play for the title with my back to the wall after the preceding rallies went badly. I lost. Carlos has also been through the same thing. To avoid putting himself in a difficult situation, Seb will have to be very cautious in Corsica and stay on the road at all cost. Five points, that's all he needs. I won't relax until the finish.

"If he succeeds in securing the title in Corsica, and if the score of our two drivers allows us to sew up the Manufacturers' championship there, they will be given a free rein to drive as they wish in Catalonia and Australia!"

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