M-Sport: Loeb's WRC deal 16 years in the making

M-Sport boss Malcolm Wilson is glad to have finally signed Sebastien Loeb to his World Rally Championship team in a deal that has been 16 years in the making.

 M-Sport: Loeb's WRC deal 16 years in the making

Loeb will join the British squad to contest the Monte Carlo Rally season opener next month where he will drive a fourth Ford Puma alongside Craig Breen, Gus Greensmith and Adrien Fourmaux.

The agreement is only for one round at the moment but it is understood further outings could be in the offing.

Signing the nine-time world champion represents a significant moment for M-Sport's founder Wilson, who has revealed he initially tried to sign Loeb to his Ford team back in 2005.

At the time, Loeb had one WRC title under his belt after winning the crown with Citroen in 2004, before going on to win the eight more titles consecutively with the French brand.

Wilson has described the signing as a" fantastic result" for his team as they set to kick off the WRC's new Rally1 hybrid era.

"In relation to Seb, I came close to securing a deal with him back in 2005 but unfortunately at that time we were not able to make it happen," said Wilson.

"However, with the introduction of the new 2022 Rally1 regulations and following discussions with Red Bull, we both reached out to Seb to see if he might be interested to come and try the new cars - he was, he did and now we find ourselves in a position to say that he will join the team next year.

"It is fantastic to be able to bring such an accomplished driver to M-Sport and I have no doubt he is still capable of a fantastic result as well as being a mentor to our other drivers.

"It might have taken over 16 years to get this deal to come to reality, but it is great to see it finally happen."

Loeb M-Sport

Loeb M-Sport

M-Sport team principal Richard Millener is relishing the opportunity to work with Loeb having already experienced working alongside, now eight-time world champion, Sebastien Ogier, when the Frenchman won back-to-back WRC titles at M-Sport in 2017 and 2018.

"I am still quite early in my rallying career, but I have been incredibly lucky to work with some incredible drivers in the last years, but having the chance to work with Seb Loeb is something I never really thought would happen," said Millener.

"I know myself and the team will give everything we can to welcome him to the team and give him the best possible chance to get the best results."

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