WRC France: Sebastien Ogier criticises Sebastien Loeb's start stance

Sebastien Ogier has dismissed Sebastien Loeb's concerns about his place in the running order for this week's Rally of France

WRC France: Sebastien Ogier criticises Sebastien Loeb's start stance

The outgoing World Rally champion starts seventh on the road as championship positions dictate the running order on asphalt WRC rounds.

Loeb is worried that wet weather could slow him down, with the cars ahead cutting corners and pulling mud onto the road.

Significant rain is now being forecast in the Alsace area for both Friday and Sunday.

Ogier, who runs first on the road, said: "I think he's not allowed to complain. He has been first on the road during nearly all his career.

"In Monte Carlo I was eighth on the road and I didn't say anything. At the end of day one I lost more than one minute in one stage because of the conditions. That's rallying."

Ogier: Loeb win would 'shadow' title

Loeb won the first Alsace-based Rally of France in 2010 from the front of the field, leaving his rivals to deal with increasingly muddy conditions behind him.

That level of cutting is unlikely to be seen this year, with barriers being installed on the inside of corners to prevent it.

"He is lucky, because the cuts will not be so much," said Ogier of Loeb.

"In some places it will get a little bit dirty but I think it will be quite fair and not a huge disadvantage, especially on day one.

"There are some stages on the last day where you can cut quite a lot. If you are seventh on the road on Sunday and it's raining a lot you have no chance.

"But on day one it will stay quite clean."

Ogier has mixed feelings about organisers' efforts to preclude the cuts.

"Sometimes it kills a little bit the character of rallying but we cannot complain about it," he said. "It's better to have the fair fight."

TITLE COULD BE SETTLED ON SS1

Volkswagen driver Ogier can clinch his first WRC title on Thursday afternoon's power stage in Strasbourg if his only championship rival Thierry Neuville fails to win the stage and claim all three bonus points.

"I am quite relaxed about today, but in the same time I am excited because it's a special weekend for me," Ogier said.

"It could be the one when I get my first world title. I've been working on it for a few years and I will have [time] to celebrate that with my team, friends and family and everyone.

"I am excited, but at the same time, I have done most of the job."

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