It is now confirmed: Sébastien Loeb shall be again within the WRC subsequent season. A information that we had a presentiment of, after the nine-time World Champion has examined for the final two months, in Spain and France, the brand new Ford Puma hybrid ready by M-Sport for the entry into power of the Rally1 rules.
Discussions between Loeb, the sponsors and the crew continued for a number of months earlier than an settlement was lastly reached to permit the 47-year-old Frenchman to take the wheel of a fourth Puma for the Rallye Monte-Carlo, an occasion that ‘he is gained seven instances to this point and that may kick off the championship subsequent month.
At this stage, Sébastien Loeb, who’s now co-piloted by Isabelle Galmiche, is barely confirmed for this occasion, the place he’ll subsequently be opposed particularly to Sébastien Ogier, eight instances World Champion and entered with Toyota in a partial yr.
Loeb has not performed a full season within the WRC since 2012, with Citroën, however he has then again been seen kind of usually thereafter, first with the French producer, then with Hyundai. It was on this context that he gained his report 79th WRC victory in Rally Spain 2018. His participation in Rallye Monte-Carlo shall be a primary since he raced in Turkey final yr, a occasion during which he obtained third place in a partial program with Hyundai.
“It is good to work with M-Sport. It is a very skilled crew they usually know learn how to construct good vehicles”, says Sébastien Loeb. “Because the starting of my profession I’ve fought towards Ford, however I’ve at all times recognized Malcolm [Wilson] as somebody very concerned in his crew and enthusiastic about rallying. We’ve got at all times had a superb relationship. I am actually excited for the Monte-Carlo, it is actually an thrilling problem. “
“To begin the brand new WRC guidelines with such a robust crew makes me very proud and it reveals the arrogance these guys have within the new Puma Rally1”, says Malcolm Wilson, crew boss.
A profit within the eyes of Prodrive
For this settlement to be doable, Sébastien Loeb was launched from his unique contract with Prodrive, with whom he was entered on the Dakar and in Excessive E this yr and for 2022. Prodrive signifies that he has launched him “to participate in a restricted variety of WRC rounds, beginning with Monte-Carlo”.
“We agreed with Seb that he would do a couple of extra races within the WRC and that may in the end assist his Dakar and Excessive E campaigns”, says David Richards, President of Prodrive. “We’ve got a busy schedule deliberate for subsequent yr with the BRX and X44 groups, but when he can squeeze a couple of WRC rounds round our schedule then that is good for all of us.”
“Seb is an unimaginable expertise, who hasn’t misplaced any of his aggressive spirit and who should be one of many favorites for the Dakar victory in January. He has proven in Excessive E that he at all times has pure pace, typically setting the very best instances, and I’ve little doubt that he has the potential to combat for WRC wins subsequent yr. It is going to be nice for anybody who enjoys motorsport to see essentially the most profitable rally driver of all time return to the WRC. “
Along with the announcement of Sébastien Loeb’s presence at Monte-Carlo, M-Sport additionally confirms that Adrien Fourmaux will play a full season in 2022.
The WRC 2022 area:
Sébastien Ogier / Esapekka Lappi
Oliver Solberg / Dani Sordo
Sébastien Loeb (Monte Carlo)