Team principal Olivier Quesnel has admitted that Citroen favors Sebastien Loeb to win the championship this year, with the Frenchman's lead now down to three points over his teammate Sebastien Ogier and Ford driver Mikko Hirvonen following the Rallye de France.
Loeb now has 196 points, with Ogier and Hirvonen both on 193 - although Ogier is ranked higher in the classification by virtue of his greater number of wins.
"The biggest danger is the blue corner: Hirvonen," said Quesnel at the end of the Alsace-based event, where Hirvonen finished fourth. "That is our main concern. Afterwards, Sebastien Loeb is team leader, then we will see what happens."
Ogier has maintained in the past that he was guaranteed equal status with Loeb while he still had a mathematical chance of winning the title, but he declined to comment further on Quesnel's statements. On the last round in Australia, he was compelled by the team to throw away four points in order to boost Loeb's score, after both drivers crashed out.
"I don't really want to talk about this now," he said. "Instead I want the chance to enjoy this victory, maybe have some holidays after the rally, ready for the last two rounds. The championship is certainly more exciting now."