Hyundai World Rally Championship driver Sebastien Loeb has been given the green light to race his countryman Sebastien Ogier for second place during Sunday’s Rally Chile finale.
When Loeb’s team-mate Thierry Neuville crashed out of the South American event on Saturday morning, there was an expectation that Loeb would be asked to hold station through Sunday’s final four stages.
Despite a 30-second cushion over fourth-placed Ford Fiesta WRC driver Elfyn Evans, Hyundai team principal Andrea Adamo told Autosport he wanted Loeb to push to usurp the five-second difference between him and reigning champion Ogier.
“I know we have points for the manufacturers’ championship to think about, but the word [for Loeb] tomorrow is: push!” he said.
“OK, we have points for third, but you get more points for second.”
Loeb’s performance through Saturday has been one of the talking points of the rally, with the Frenchman’s i20 Coupe WRC 13s faster than anybody else across the six stages.
Loeb said: “The pace I had today was really good, but Seb is also very fast.
“The stages tomorrow are different from today. They are more technical with a lot of crests.
“There is no room to make any mistakes. We will see.
“I am happy to be in this situation. If I can push and catch him it would be perfect.
Ogier added: “It’s a big fight. He put in some really good times today. It will be interesting tomorrow.”
The crews face 36 miles of competition through the final day of the inaugural Rally Chile.