Citroen: Potential Loeb-Ogier reunion won't cause issues

Citroen insists a potential reunion of Sebastien Ogier and Sebastien Loeb will not produce a repeat of the pair's volatile past relationship as WRC teammates.

Team Principal Yves Matton said last week that signing M-Sport driver and current championship leader Ogier was now Citroen's priority for the 2018 season, while Loeb has tested the French firm's 2017 C3 WRC on asphalt.

The nine-time world champion is expected to test the car again on gravel in the coming weeks, and could compete on a limited programme of rounds next season.

Ogier and Loeb were full-season teammates at Citroen in 2011 but fell out over the course of the season, notably over team orders.

Loeb won the title that year, while Ogier left the squad at the end of the season to join Volkswagen's programme.

“It’s not the same story as in 2011; if Sebastien Ogier joins us he comes to win the championship, but if Sebastien Loeb comes it's only for some rallies,” said Matton.

“With him [Loeb] it’s quite different now. First he tests the car on gravel to see what is his feeling on this surface and after that we have to see – his major programme is with Peugeot and we need to know the future of Peugeot.

"And finally, it was his decision to retire from the WRC, so it has to be his decision to come back.

"But one thing is sure, he said if he comes back it’s for some rallies, not for the whole championship. For Citroen it can be interesting to have them in the team again.”

Matton added there had been no progress on a potential Ogier deal, but that he wanted Citroen's driver line-up to be sorted early next month and would only explore opportunities with other drivers if Ogier elected to remain with current employer M-Sport.

Ogier said last month that his preference was to remain in an M-Sport Ford Fiesta next year to avoiding driving for a third team in as many seasons, but that such a decision was dependent on Ford returning as a manufacturer or a major backer stepping forward.

Matton said any potential Ogier deal would not affect the status of current drivers Kris Meeke, Craig Breen and Stephane Lefebvre for 2018.

“For Craig and Stephane, they don’t have the number of rallies agreed for next year,” he said.

“But for Kris, his contract says he does all of the rallies and he’s under this contract until the end of next year.”

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About this article
Series WRC
Drivers Sébastien Loeb , Sébastien Ogier
Teams Citroën World Rally Team
Article type Breaking news