Before Cyprus Rally
After winning his 27th WRC victory in Japan, Sebastien Loeb
is now getting ready for his next challenge, the 2006 Cyprus Rally.
At the finish of Rally Japan, you've only talked about the fight and not about your 27th win…
“To finish second there
with eight points for the championship would have been quite good. But when Daniel and I decided not to take that into account and not to give up the fight, it was just because for us at that time the wins' record wasn't the target. Not more than the fact Japan was one of the rally we had never won before. Just the fight counted. On Sunday morning, Marcus [Grönholm] pushed really hard and he was catching us up. At the start of the last ‘real' stage, it was urgent to do something. We discussed that and had two options: either we tempt it or we let him overtake us for a tiny bit. We still had a eightsecond- lead. We had been driving flat out the whole event without making a mistake and we thought we could try a bit more without going off. The only split time we were communicated was after four kilometres in the stage. It indicated we were two seconds slower than Marcus. At that pace, we wouldn't have made it. We pushed even harder and considering the level of attack I really think this is one of my favourite wins.”
Of course, after that there was a lot going on about your record of wins…
“I've already said that but that's the one I really wanted to achieve. In Germany, it was great to think I was sharing it with Carlos. But now having it on my own is even better.
I think that moment was made stronger after this crazy duel. Those 27 wins which I clinched with the same car, are also those of the Xsara and Citroën Sport men's who have led and maintained it to that level of performance. I don't forget Kronos Racing doing a faultless job on event. For Daniel and myself, it's an important step on the road leading to our main target, the title.”
And now Cyprus…
“I've never competed in the event at that date. Maybe, it will be a bit less hot? We can dream, can't we? In Cyprus, you need a very strong car. Shock absorbing is important for the traction and also to cope with the vertical demand on the chassis. It should not understeer at all in the slow corners and also should have a very good level of cooling. These past three years, the Xsara has done pretty well on the isle. In 2003, our positions reflected our reliability and later we added the performance to it. The one-two finish last year with the Kronos Xsara of Manfred Stohl proved the ability of the Citroën on that terrain. We are going to try to benefit from it and fight for the win again.”
Press release Citroen Kronos WRT