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2012-09-14 07:10

ONE MORE IN WALES? Rally ace Sebastien Loeb will be gunning for his fourth win in five starts in the weekend's Rally GB.

CARDIFF, Wales - Eight-times World Rally champion Sebastien Loeb will be looking for a fourth win in five starts when he wheelspins into this weekend's 2012 Wales Rally GB.

He'll also be looking for even bigger prizes.

Loeb can help Citroen to an eighth Manufacturers' crown in Rally GB but will also want to boost his own chances of a ninth Drivers' title.


The Frenchman, aided by co-driver Daniel Elena, said: "It's a rally I like and we've got some good memories from the last few years.

"for 2012 it would be good to win and secure an eighth World title for the team. That would also make us ideally placed to win a ninth championship at the Rallye de France.

"However, I'm not obsessed by that. I'll be approaching this rally just like any other."

Loeb topped qualifying on Wednesday, taking 2min22.260 to complete the 3.91km stage at the Walters Arena complex north of the event base in the Welsh capital, Cardiff.

"It was a good run," he sid. "I made one or two small mistakes but I'm happy it was not raining for me."


As Loeb gained an early advantage in his bid for his fourth Rally GB triumph, Norwegian arch-rival Petter Solberg was left rueing his luck as the heavens opened just as he set out on his run in his Ford Fiesta.

"It's unbelievable," Solberg said, after finishing 0.051sec slower than Loeb. "The rain tap is turned on again at the start line (just like the previous rally in Germany). "I didn't know what the grip would be like and I was braking too early for some of the corners. It's frustrating but I still have one aim and that is to win."

Finland's Mikko Hirvonen, in the second works Citroen, was third-quickest with Citroen Junior Thierry Neuville - on his Rally GB debut - fourth-fastest.

Factory Ford driver and 2011 winner Jari-Matti Latvala of Finland was fifth-quickest, 1.133sec slower than Loeb, and Ford privateer Mads Ostberg completed the top six.

Neuville said: "Perhaps the course will make me think of Rally of Scotland, in which I have competed twice. In any case, I'm not afraid of racing in places that are totally new to me. The purpose of this season is to provide me with experience and I'm always happy to take part in rallies that I could only watch on TV a few years ago.

"I know I have the speed, including on stages that are totally new to me,  but for this even, I'm not going to concern myself too much with my times - my goal will really be to avoid mistakes."

The Wales Rally GB is the 10th of 13 in a 2012 season that will end in Spain in November


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