Preview: Loeb Chases Home Win

Citroen's Sebastien Loeb wants to celebrate his second world rally championship by putting on a show for his home fans in Corsica this weekend

Preview: Loeb Chases Home Win

"I really want to win the Tour of Corsica", Loeb told reporters.

"I say that I want to win it, not that I shall win it. I want to win it because it's France's round of the World Championship. All my friends will be there and we will have the support of thousands of fans."

The Frenchman, who retained his title with three races remaining in Japan two weeks ago, is confident he can win in a car that has always been very strong on asphalt.

However, team boss Guy Frequelin has told Loeb and Belgian teammate Francois Duval to focus on the manufacturers' competition and "stay on the road".

"Winning the driver's title is only half the job. I know Seb really wants to win the Tour of Corsica and that's fine so long as it doesn't lead him to take excessive risks", he said.

Citroen top the manufacturers' standings with 150 points, Peugeot are second on 128 and Ford third on 81.

"The two objectives are compatible. Seb is quite capable of handling this sort of situation. Francois Duval is once again driving well and has his confidence back. That's a plus for us," Frequelin added.

"My recommendation to my two drivers is the same though: stay on the road, be at the finish."

Wet Race

Loeb showed he was able to take a cautious approach when he settled for second place in Corsica last year because he needed only five points to become France's first world champion since Didier Auriol in 1994.

In 1999 and 2003, the Frenchman pushed too hard in one of the trickiest rallies on the calendar with twisty stages on mountain roads and a racetrack-like surface.

"In 1999, we nearly had a 'big one' over the Calvese jump which I misjudged," he said.

"From what I'm told, our leap was a huge success with the spectators. I made a mistake in the 2003 event which cost me 10 minutes perched on a bank", he remembers.

"If it rains, especially if the weather is showery and unpredictable, anything can happen as we saw in 2003 but we will give it our very best whatever happens."

According to forecasts, Friday's opening stages will be cloudy but the roads will still be wet after three days of heavy rain. Scattered showers are predicted for Saturday's and Sunday's legs.

Once again, Peugeot and Marcus Gronholm should be Citroen's main opponents but that team's challenge will be weakened by the withdrawal of last year's winner Markko Martin.

The Estonian pulled out of the last three races of the season after his British co-driver Michael Park was killed in a crash on the final day of the Rally of Britain on September 18. Martin has been replaced by Frenchman Nicolas Bernardi.

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Series WRC
Drivers Sébastien Loeb
Author Jean-Paul Couret
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