The Peugeot Belgium-Luxemburg team heads into Rally Sanremo, tenth round of the Intercontinental Rally Challenge, knowing it played its part in securing the 2009 IRC manufacturers' crown for the French carmaker.
With two rounds remaining on the calendar, the drivers' title
will be settled between Peugeot UK's Kris Meeke and the Skoda team's Jan Kopecky. With the Peugeot Belux drivers out of contention, Freddy Loix is aiming for a different goal as he elaborates plans for a podium finish on the mountain roads of the Italian Riviera.
"Last year, if it hadn't been for a few small worries, I had the potential to finish second in Italy. I want to do at least as well this year," the Belgian said. "I intend to definitively make the third place in the 2009 IRC standings mine."
Peugeot Belgium-Luxemburg teammate Nicolas Vouilloz knows he won't be holding on to his drivers' crown this season, but is nonetheless eager to take on the famous Rally Sanremo after finishing second there last year.
"I feel ready for Sanremo," the Frenchman said. "The nature of the roads is close to my home region; however these are more narrow and twisted."
Rally Sanremo will be concentrated into only nine stages taking place between Friday evening and Saturday afternoon, including the epic 44 kilometres of the Cuori 'super stage' which will be run in the darkness of the night.
"Since the rally is closer to a sprint, we will need to be at 100% from the first to the final curve," Vouilloz predicted.
Speaking of the very long 'super stage,' he added: "That requires being in maximum shape and keeping the car in perfect working order for over half an hour, in addition to managing the brakes and tyre temperatures."
Loix pointed out other factors requiring special consideration on the asphalt roads of Rally Sanremo.
"It's the beginning of autumn, the surface is never entirely dry. There are traces of humidity, sometimes streams of water," he explained. "Even when the weather is nice, the leaves falling from the trees and the chestnuts make certain sectors excessively slippery; it can be the case coming into any curve."
"You have to be ready to react, the driving includes a great part of improvisation," Loix added. "That's rallying!"