S ébastien Loeb has succumbed to the temptation of the new rally cars introduced this year. You have more engine power with more sophisticated aerodynamics. The record world champion tested the Citroën C3 on wet and dry asphalt in mid-August. It was a private test in Alsace, which attracted a lot of attention in the rally scene. Six weeks later, Loeb got back behind the wheel. This time the 43-year-old drove the C3 on gravel. The comeback was getting closer.
Loeb in Mexico, Corsica and Spain at the start
Especially since Loeb made it clear that he was not interested in a test job. He would much rather race while testing a car. A deal is in the bag just before Christmas. Loeb, who dominated the World Rally Championship between 2004 and 2012 with nine titles in a row, is returning. In 2018, the record world champion will contest three of 13 races.
The will start in Mexico (March 8th to 11th), Corsica (April 5th to 8th) and in Spain (October 25th to 28th) Old hand together with co-driver Daniel Elena in the Citroën C3. For this, Craig Breen has to go on the bench, who drives the remaining ten runs. Only Kris Meeke is set for the entire season. Citroën's racing director Yves Matton is delighted. “Sébastien could only return with us. Everything else would not have worked. During the test drives he proved that he has not lost any of his speed. However, it will be a challenge for him to face the competition with less track knowledge and less time in the car. ”
Loeb explains how the three competitions were chosen. “France makes sense because I come from there and I've always loved driving on asphalt. However, I don't know the current route of the Tour de Corse. Spain seemed like a good option. I haven't driven there for a while, but I really want to ride on gravel. I have fond memories of Mexico and the route has not changed much. ”Loeb has already won eight times in Spain with its different surfaces. He won six times in Mexico and four times in Corsica.
The Frenchman contested his last rally in Monte Carlo in 2015. His last victory of a total of 78 successes was in 2013. At that time, he had the season opener won the race in Argentina in Monte Carlo. After his withdrawal at the end of 2012, the former Dominator only appeared sporadically in the World Rally Championship. Instead, Loeb devoted himself to new projects. 2014and in 2015 he competed in the WTCC World Touring Car Championship for two years. In 2016 and 2017 Loeb was looking for a challenge in the World Rallycross Championship. He finished his first full season in fifth. In 2017 he landed in fourth overall position. In addition, Loeb has tried his hand at the Dakar Rally in recent years.