Loeb: Home win not a priority

Autosport

Sebastien Loeb insists he will not be pressured into pushing for victory in front of a home crowd that will be measured in hundreds of thousands on this week's Rallye de France.

Loeb won the first Alsace-based World Rally Championship round two years ago, but his fans were left disappointed last season when the Frenchman retired from the lead due to engine failure on stage three.

Loeb needs to finish ahead of his Citroen team-mate Mikko Hirvonen in France this weekend to win a ninth consecutive world title - and says that will be his priority.

"The only person I'm bothered about is Mikko," Loeb told L'Equipe. "He is the only rival I have. I am not too bothered about the others.

"If I can win the rally it's obviously better, but I'm not going to try everything to do this.

"If I am in a close, second-for-second fight with [Jari-Matti] Latvala, for example, and the others are far behind I can finish second.

"There is no obligation to win, I will see how I feel. I won in Finland and Germany while being in the same frame of mind - we will see what happens.

"Certain people are saying I need to win, [because it's the] last time I'll drive here - there is a certain pressure and we want to do well, but with time and experience I've managed that pressure and, for now, it's absolutely fine."

Loeb's 2010 victory in Alsace was enough for him to clinch a seventh world title.

He was seventh quickest on Thursday evening's superspecial in Strasbourg. Thierry Neuville currently leads.

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