Loeb selects 'safe' starting slot

Autosport

Sebastien Loeb has selected what he sees as the safest position on the road and opted to run 10th on the opening loop of Rally Finland stages tomorrow.

The Frenchman's fastest time in qualifying afforded him the first choice of where to start on the road on the stages around Lahti, south of the rally's base in Jyvaskyla.

"If it is dry then it's better to be behind," said Loeb, "but if it's raining then it's better to be in front. What will be the weather? We don't know, so we will go somewhere in the middle and 10 is a good number."

Loeb's main rivals Jari-Matti Latvala, Mikko Hirvonen and Petter Solberg will follow in the three places behind the reigning world champion.

"I think we will all be equal," said Loeb. "I don't think there is going to be any difference between being 10th on the road and being 13th on the road. The choices are made, so now it's time for the fight to begin."

Latvala admitted he had considered a position higher up the order, but drying conditions in Lahti tomorrow had forced a rethink.

"You could lose 10 or 15 seconds if it doesn't work out," said Latvala. "And with the cars so equal on these stages, getting that time back would be tough.

"As well as that, we tried to take a chance in New Zealand on the last rally, we gambled there and it didn't work - now is the time to play it safe and this is why we followed Sebastien."

On what could be his final World Rally Car outing on his home round of the WRC, Sebastian Lindholm will lead the field away in his Ford Fiesta RS.

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