Sébastien Loeb aims to complete a hat-trick of Rallye Monte Carlo wins this weekend. However, Citroën is winding down its WRC campaign and Loeb has achieved his goal of winning the world title… could the laid-back Frenchman still be a factor in 2005?

Sébastien Loeb aims to complete a hat-trick of Rallye Monte Carlo wins this weekend. However, Citroën is winding down its WRC campaign and Loeb has achieved his goal of winning the world title… could the laid-back Frenchman still be a factor in 2005?



Loeb recently said he had achieved his main goals in the sport by winning the world championship title last year. And, he's likely to face an even stiffer challenge to defend his title this year – from rival champions Petter Solberg and Marcus Gronholm, new Peugeot signing Markko Martin and Citroën team-mate Francois Duval, who will be keen to impress his new team.


"Missing out so narrowly on the title in 2003 put a little pressure on me and winning the championship in 2004 took away much of that pressure," Loeb said.


"(Now) I feel liberated. Whatever happens, I've achieved my goal and fulfilled every rally driver's dream. Some say that the first conquest is the most difficult. We'll see. What's certain, however, is that I haven't had my fill behind the wheel. I feel the same desire to win and want this to be a fantastic season for Citroën (which, along with sister team Peugeot, will be pulling out of WRC at the end of the year)."


Loeb also has the challenge of maintaining his impressive record on the season-opening event. The Frenchman is gunning for a third straight win on the challenging winter asphalt rally, and would have won the event in 2002 had he not been disqualified for an administrative error by the Citroën team.


"I have to accept the role as favourite," he said. "There's even a nice side to it. I'm getting used to the pressure that goes with it, but I remain lucid. All good runs come to an end sometime and I tell myself that this one will too.


“On the other hand, the complexity of Monte Carlo is such that, more than anywhere else, winning is a team effort, and we have such a strong team, made even stronger by its recent record on this event. Although I'm totally aware that anything can happen, I feel more confident than last year," he added.

Original article from Car