Six-time World Rally Champion Sebastien Loeb has admitted to a love-hate relationship with Rally Sweden on the eve of this year's WRC opener.
The Karlstad-based event, which gets under way on Thursday, has not been too successful for the 54-time world rally winner over the years. Loeb has started Rally Sweden eight times, and has finished on the podium three times, with his sole win coming in 2004.
The Citroen C4 WRC driver admitted he has struggled in the past with the changeable conditions – particularly when winter has deserted the Varmland region of central Sweden.
"Sometimes I think that it [Rally Sweden] is my favorite rally, but at other times I can hate it," Loeb said. "It all depends on the level of snow covering the road. At times, when the roads are iced over, with banks of snow on either side of the track and freezing temperatures, it becomes a fantastic, fun-filled rally.
"On the contrary, when there's no snow or ice, mud and ruts start to appear, and when they appear, the rally starts to become a real nightmare with very little driving pleasure."
Loeb will be the first to see the level of snow and ice on the roads at a competitive speed, when he leads the field away and into Thursday night's opening superspecial test in Karlstad.
The main event starts the following morning on a day which takes the crews farther north than in recent years, to the roads surrounding the town of Torsby.