Defending WRC champion Sébastien Loeb hopes to repeat last year's Swedish Rally victory this weekend, but the Citroën star's charge could be foiled if snow falls on the eve of the opening leg.

Defending WRC champion Sébastien Loeb hopes to repeat last year's Swedish Rally victory this weekend, but the Citroën star's charge could be foiled if snow falls on the eve of the opening leg.


As the current leader of the championship standings, the Frenchman is first on the road for the opening leg, and could be forced to act as a snowplough of sorts - by sweeping the loose surface for his rivals.


For the past three years, Loeb has started the World Rally Championship strongly and has scored a trio of consecutive victories on the season-opening Rallye Automobile Monte Carlo. Last year, he added to that reputation by breaking the Scandinavian stranglehold on the Swedish event. This year he's looking for a repeat win to consolidate his advantage in the standings, but has acknowledged that fresh snowfalls could significantly harm his chances.


"I'll tell you how the day will go when I open the curtains of my hotel room on Friday morning," Loeb said. "If the stages are covered in ice and lined with snowbanks, driving in Sweden is a pleasure you don't get anywhere else.


But running first on the road in fresh snow is less fun. If that's the case, my aim is to lose as little time as possible on the first leg, then try to win back as much time as possible on the next two days.


"Our testing in Sweden in December went very well and a further day of testing just before the recce will allow us to validate that work. If the weather doesn't force me to act as a snowplough on day one, I hope to be up there with the best.


"But I'll just try to do my best. The common factor on all three legs will be the importance of not making any mistakes, and that's not easy when driving at high speed on a knife edge," he added.