Veteran Carlos Sainz says Citroën team-mate and WRC title favourite Sébastien Loeb should focus on securing the five points he needs to clinch the championship, instead of throwing caution to the wind in a bid to win this weekend’s Rallye de France in Corsica.

Veteran Carlos Sainz says Citroën team-mate and WRC title favourite Sébastien Loeb should focus on securing the five points he needs to clinch the championship, instead of throwing caution to the wind in a bid to win this weekend’s Rallye de France in Corsica.


El Matador, as Sainz is affectionately known, has been in the midst of the title fight on numerous occasions over the course of the past 15 years, and is on course to finish third in this year’s title chase. However, Sainz is eager to try and help his French team-mate secure his first championship. Loeb was on course to win his home event – the Rallye de France in Corsica – last year, but lost 10 minutes when he made a mistake, and didn’t score any points.


“Sebastien needs to stay calm,” Sainz said. “Given how he went last year, he will obviously want to win, but he mustn’t take any risks. He needs to adjust his pace as a function of how the other drivers go, not make any mistakes and force himself, at least initially, to forget about the championship. If he has to choose between taking risks to win or making sure of the championship, then my recommendation is that the title is more important.”


During the last three gravel rounds of the championship – on which Loeb is less experienced than title rival Petter Solberg – he played a more tactical game to try and maintain his points lead. He has admitted previously that he wants to win his home round of the World Rally Championship – which is held on Citroën-suiting asphalt – but now seems to be more sanguine about having to accept that the title should be the major focus of his attention.


“If I said I didn’t want to win, who would believe me?” he said. “Last year I was leading until SS8, when I made a mistake that could easily have gone unpunished, but which ended up costing me 10 minutes. I love Corsica. I love the rally. I believe we pleased our fans (by winning] on the Monte Carlo and in Germany and I’d like to think we could do the same in Corsica. I also believe it would be an elegant way to clinch the title.


“If I feel comfortable with the Xsara and if I’m in good form, then the Corsican stages, which are no more demanding than those of Monaco or Germany, should enable me to battle for victory. However, should the speed of another driver force me to drive beyond what I consider a reasonable limit, or should I be forced out of contention by an incident or a sudden change in the weather, then I’ll immediately re-focus on the championship and on securing the five points I need to clinch the title,” Loeb added.