Loeb Admits Underdog Status in Norway
Five-time world champion Sebastien Loeb knows it and reckoned it will be very hard for him to keep the pace with the Nordic drivers from Ford. However, the past win in Sweden in 2004 seems to have given him enough confidence to aim high in Norway. In addition, having crashed out of the event in 2007 motivated him even more to take sweet revenge this year.
“The 2007 event was particularly difficult because we faced a layer of fresh snow on top of the sheet ice underneath. I had a great deal of trouble spotting the places where the grip changed and I never really felt comfortable. I hope it won't snow this year so that we will be free to drive flat out on a nice coating of smooth ice,” said Loeb.
“Ford should be more at home in Norway and will be extremely keen to profit from this rally to make up for lost ground. I don't know yet whether I will be able to stand in their way, but it's a very stimulating challenge! I enjoy this sort of event and I have very fond memories of my win in Sweden in 2004, so perhaps adding another victory to my record in Norway isn't entirely out of the question,” continued the Frenchman.
Citroen is currently holding a 10-point lead over Ford in the overall classification, as Loeb and teammate Dani Sordo finished Rally Ireland in 1st and 2nd place. Citroen Junior Team has also managed to put 5 points on the scoreboard at their debut in the series, through Chris Atkinson and Sebastien Ogier. However, Atkinson will be replaced by Russian teenager Evgeny Novikov in Norway.
Neither Loeb, nor Sordo managed to cross the finish line in Rally Norway in 2007. On the other hand, Hirvonen won the event two years ago, while Latvala scored a great 5th place when driving for Ford's satellite team, Stobart M-Sport.