Six-time title-winner Sebastien Loeb has a Formula 1 champion for company in the World Rally Championship this year with the addition of Kimi Raikkonen to Citroen's lineup. As the Finn prepared for his first rally in a WRC car in this week's Arctic event, Loeb offered his thoughts on his new stablemate's chances in 2010 and beyond.
Q. Have you met Kimi yet?
Sebastien Loeb: No, I haven't met him really. I don't know him at the moment. I will be delighted to meet him – he looks like a cool man and I'm sure we will get on well.
Q. What about these stories that, if all goes well for him this year, he could be your teammate next season?
SL: That's something I don't have to decide on. Olivier [Quesnel, Citroen team boss] will take the best drivers for the car next year. And if he is good this year, then why not?
I am happy he is here in the sport. I think he can be good for the rally. It's great to have his name with us, there's a really good story for you and the media. It's something exciting for us.
Q. What will he be good at this year?
SL: Driving fast! He is a natural driver. Look at what he achieved in Formula 1. For sure, he will be able to drive fast on the road he knows.
Q. What will he struggle with this year?
SL: I don't know for sure, but probably the most difficult thing for him will be to drive fast when he doesn't know the road and he has only seen the road while driving slowly two times before. Making precise notes is really important for him this year.
Q. And what do you think of the WRC in general before the start of this season?
SL: I feel that, today, it's only two manufacturers and that's not so good. OK, for me, the two manufacturers we have in the sport are the best two and they are both very competitive – which makes for a nice battle at a very high level.
The cars are very good, and the drivers are not so bad, the level of competition is very tough. I think the thing we could do better is to get some more manufacturers.