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Rallying: Loeb to enter four rallies next year

Winner of rally Sebastien Loeb is seen after the FIA World Rally Championship WRC Neste Oil Rally Finland near Jyvaskyla August 4, 2012. REU
Winner of rally Sebastien Loeb is seen after the FIA World Rally Championship WRC Neste Oil Rally Finland near Jyvaskyla August 4, 2012. REU

(Reuters) - World rally champion Sebastien Loeb will compete in four of the 13 events on the calendar next season, the Citroen driver said on Thursday.

"We'll start the season in Monte Carlo and we'll also be competing in Sweden because it's a rally that I would love to win in normal racing conditions," the nine-times champion said in a team statement.

"And I couldn't begin to think about missing the Rallye de France," he added.

Citroen did not say what the fourth rally would be.

The team announced in September that the champion would not be defending his title next year, with Finland's Mikko Hirvonen taking over as the lead driver and competing in all rounds.

Spaniard Dani Sordo will enter at least 11 rallies and will be nominated to score points in the manufacturers' championship when Loeb is not competing.

Khaleed al-Qassimi of the United Arab Emirates will do eight world championship rallies for the Abu Dhabi-sponsored team, starting in Sweden.

(Reporting by Alan Baldwin in London; Editing by Clare Fallon)

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