Citroen: Loeb WRC return choice entirely his

Citroen’s chief executive officer Linda Jackson says any decision about whether Sebastien Loeb returns to the WRC full-time in 2019 remains entirely in the nine-time champion's hands.

Loeb won a quarter of the stages on last week’s Tour de Corse, despite last competing on the island 10 years earlier and having been away from a full-time WRC programme since 2012.

The Frenchman was a frontrunner early on in Corsica, as he had been on last month's Rally Mexico, but lost his chance of fighting for victory on the second stage when he got his C3 stuck in a ditch.

That forced Loeb into retirement on Friday, before he returned over the weekend to set the quickest time on three of Saturday’s six stages.

Asked if she would consider chasing Loeb for a full-time WRC return in 2019, Jackson told “You need to ask me that question later in the season.

"But that [a full-time return] would depend completely on Sebastien and his availability and what he wants to do.”

Loeb's 2018 WRC campaign is only set to comprise one more event - Rally Catalunya in October - and question about the potential for him to compete in Germany in August, Jackson added: “With Sebastien it’s three rallies. It’s his agenda and his diary.”

Jackson said Loeb’s speed on two of his planned three WRC outings demonstrated the decision to replace Craig Breen was the right one.

“We made the right choices at the start of this season,” she said. “A lot of people asked, 'Is this the right thing to do?' I think we have shown that it seems to be working well.”

She added that the nine-time champion’s influence had been felt at Citroen.

"What you can see – and this starts from the very top with [team principal] Pierre Budar – is a real team spirit and a real calmness about the team," said Jackson.

"You can see the consistency, calmness and confidence and it’s nice having the experience of Sebastien, the team can feed off this.

“Clearly, we still want results, but things happen and nobody was more gutted an upset than Sebastien himself.”

Asked about his availability for August's Rally Germany, Loeb maintained his summer holiday line.

“It’s the summer,” he told, “and it’s still time for the beach.

"What happened in Corsica, it’s frustrating. In the first stage the rhythm was good, I could fight and have fun and then finally everything stopped in the first corner of the second stage."

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