Newly crowned World Rally Champion Sebastien Loeb is hopeful of returning to driving duties for this month's Propecia Rally New Zealand.
Loeb, who broke his arm in a mountain bike accident last month, won the championship despite not competing in the Rally of Australia last weekend.
However Loeb is aiming to return to action in New Zealand in the penultimate round of the championship that takes place in and around Hamilton and the Waikato from 16-19 November
While Loeb no longer has the pressure on to return to wrap up the title, his Kronos Citroen team has fallen further behind in second place in the manufacturer's race behind the BP Ford team. The rookie win for Mikko Hirvonen and fifth place to Marcus Gronholm, after he rolled and lost 11 minutes early in the rally, has given the Ford team a 16 point buffer over Citroen.
A relieved Loeb is hoping he can at least take part in the recce for Rally New Zealand even if he can't compete in the event itself.
"I can't give a date for my return yet," he said. "The minimum I can hope for is to do the recce in New Zealand, so that even if I can't compete this year, I won't have to discover the route next year."
"It will be much easier to concentrate on my recovery without the obsession of coming back," he said.
"I'm relieved that we have won the championship, although it was too early in France to describe my feelings at first."
While the title aspirations are over for Gronholm, the success for Hirvonen has given the team some extra zip in their step as they chase further success in New Zealand.
"I'm pleased that after losing so much time on Friday I was able to score points and help the team move further ahead in the manufacturers' championship," said Gronholm.
"Now we can concentrate on New Zealand which is an event I have always enjoyed and on perhaps the best roads we have in the championship."