Sebastien Loeb has laughed off suggestions that he will slow down in this week's Catalunya Rally in order to help teammate Dani Sordo win his first World Rally Championship event.
Loeb put down a marker on this penultimate round of the WRC with fastest time at the morning's shakedown stage, and then emphasized his determination to win a 61st world rally on Sunday.
"People have been asking me if I'm going to drive slowly," he said. "They want to know if I'm going to let Dani win. Of course I'm not. When I turn up, I drive to win.
"I don't want to let Dani win and – do you really think that Dani would want to win under those conditions? He doesn't want me to lead and then just let him past. I would prefer to stay at home rather than to come here and not be prepared to drive to try to win."
Loeb admitted, however, that the loose surface element of the opening leg, allied to Sordo's start position of fifth on the road, would help the Spaniard.
"He's going to be tough to beat," said Loeb. "He could take 30 seconds on the opening day and that's really hard to get back from Dani here."
Sordo denied that he was favorite going into his home event.
"Don't forget Petter [Solberg]," said Sordo. "He is there and he will be fighting. Maybe the position can be better for me, but we can never discount Sebastien..."