Preview: Loeb looking for 11th win

Sebastien Loeb, having already secured a second straight world title in emphatic style, will be looking to cap his record breaking year with an 11th victory when the final rally of the season starts in Perth on Friday

Loeb, who became the first driver to win every stage in a rally when he won his first Rally of Corsica last month, clinched the title in Japan on October 2 when he finished runner-up to Peugeot's Marcus Gronholm.

The 31-year-old Frenchman, who set the previous mark of six victories in a season when he won his first title last year, also guided Citroen to their third successive manufacturers' title when he won the Rally of Catalunya at the end of October.

He has completely dominated this season, winning 10 of the 15 rallies so far.

Loeb is the second Frenchman to win the world title after Didier Auriol, the 1994 champion, and only the fourth man to win successive titles after Finnish drivers Juha Kankkunen (1986-1987) and Tommi Makinen (1996-1999) and Italian Massimo Biasion (1988-1989).

The race around the streets of Perth and on the gravel in the surrounding forests will also be the last for the Citroen works team -- until 2007 anyway.

The team said in 2004 they were withdrawing from the championship in 2006 because of costs.

However after a drastic restructuring of the season by the sport's ruling body (FIA), Citroen said last month they would return in 2007 for the championship, which runs from August 2007 until May 2008.

Loeb will drive a privately-entered Citroen for the Belgian Kronos Racing team in 2006, and help test Citroen's new C4 car, that is expected to make its debut in 2007 with the Frenchman back behind the wheel of the full works team.

"I'm thrilled about the prospect of contributing to the development of the C4 practically from the outset," Loeb said earlier this week. "This time I will be able to watch the new 'baby' grow up.

"Not only that, but I will also be one of the people who raises it. It's a responsibility and an exciting challenge that is new to me.

"I can't wait to get started."

While the focus will be on whether Loeb can cap his dominant performance this season with another victory, Finland's Gronholm and Norway's Petter Solberg will be seeking to grab second spot in the championship.

Peugeot's Gronholm and Subaru's Solberg, the 2003 World Champion, are tied on 71 points.

Solberg won the title in 2003 and was runner-up last year.

Finland's Toni Gardemeister is in fourth place overall on 58 points.

Former World Champion Colin McRae of Britain, a two-times winner in Australia, is returning to the event in a Skoda in only his second drive this year.

McRae finished seventh in the Skoda in the Rally of Britain, his first appearance in a World Rally Championship event since the end of the 2003 season.

"Australia is a very difficult rally," said McRae. "It is high-speed and the trees are very close to the edge of the road.

"Combine that with the unique road surface and you end up with one of the toughest rallies of the year."

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