Amidst the spate of new rules governing the World Rally Series, Citröen hopeful Sebastien Loeb had some choice words to say ahead of the Mexican rally.

Amidst the spate of new rules governing the World Rally Series, Citröen hopeful Sebastien Loeb had some choice words to say ahead of the Mexican rally.

World Rally Championship points leader Loeb believes that the team which reacts fastest at the Rally Mexico shakedown stage will win.

The Frenchman, along with Harri Rovanpera, is one of only two top drivers with any Rally Mexico experience. Loeb said he believed that the team reacting fastest in the Rally Mexico shakedown stage, and finding a good set-up, would win.

"Winning this rally will depend on the speed of reaction from the team after shakedown," Loeb said.

"This is the same for all the teams. We did our test in Spain, but nobody knows if they have the right settings, and shakedown will be the first time we will find all that out. If we need big changes to the car then these will need to be completed quickly."

The features of the Mexico Rally led Citröen to locate conditions similar to the ones found there and testing was conducted in the South of Spain. Drivers Loeb and Carlos Sainz took turns putting the Xsara through its paces in the five-day session. Testing was focused on fine-tuning the car's set-up and working through the Michelin products on offer.

Citroën Sport's technical chief, Jean-Claude Vaucard said: "We have naturally come up with a specific engine tuning that takes this particularity into account."

Another key consideration was the altitude at which the event runs. The highest point on a stage is 2 700 metres and the route's average altitude is 2 300 metres.

The winding gravel tracks along the route are varied in their profiles and width. The rally also takes place in the middle of the dry season so it's less likely that the hard surfaces would cut up.

Considering that a new limitation on tyre quantities was first introduced in Sweden with each driver being allocated a maximum personal quota for the race.

Another new feature to be introduced in Mexico is the service parks and the "flexi-service" concept. With the exception of the first service stops on Saturday and Sunday, cars from the same teams will not be worked on at the same time.

Citröen's Guy Fréquelin predicted that the victory should go to the team that adapts the fastest, and given his team's record, the chances are great.