Citroën has never dominated on the fast gravel forest stages around the Finnish town of Jyväskylä - a factor defending WRC champion Sébastien Loeb will need to overcome if he is to secure his seventh victory on the trot in Rally Finland this weekend.

Citroën has never dominated on the fast gravel forest stages around the Finnish town of Jyväskylä - a factor defending WRC champion Sébastien Loeb will need to overcome if he is to secure his seventh victory on the trot in Rally Finland this weekend.


The French team's motorsport boss, Guy Frequelin, this week warned his drivers that they had to focus on the goal of winning a third manufacturers' title for Citroën, but hinted that Loeb could nevertheless score his seventh consecutive WRC win in Finland.


Citroën has struggled in previous seasons to be competitive on the event's fast gravel stages. Lately, the French team has shown increased form on gravel and, given Citroën's win on Rally New Zealand in early April, is confident of its chances this weekend.


"I think we've never been so close to finding the most competitive set-up for the specific demands of Finland's stages," Frequelin said. "This is slightly different to that required for New Zealand. Although I can't overlook the fact that some of our rivals enjoy far more experience of Finland than we do, I believe we now have a grasp of this event's special parameters. Sébastien has an extra visit under his belt since last year and the team has given him a car in which he has total confidence, so I hope we will be able to play a part in the fight at the sharp end."


Citroën has a narrow six-point lead over chief rival Peugeot in the manufacturers' standings. The two teams - which represent sister companies in the PSA group - are both desperate to win the manufacturer's title this year as they are leaving the sport at the end of the season and don't want to be tied on three titles apiece in the World Rally Championship's modern era.


"The instructions for François (Duval) are the same as Argentina," Frequelin said. "This rally is too difficult for him to take risks, and I want him to finish in the points. There will be many local drivers in competitive cars who can finish ahead of him, but that's not a problem in (manufacturers') championship terms.


"As far as Sebastien is concerned, we've talked about our strategy. He knows I'm not the type of person to risk seeing the advantage we've gained be nibbled away by going all-out for victory, even on a prestigious event such as Finland. He understood that message perfectly last year in Corsica where he wanted to win every bit as much. That said, if his natural pace allows him to fight for victory, then we will be behind him all the way," he added.

Original article from Car