Loeb “can still be competitive" on WRC return

Sebastien Loeb is confident he “can still be competitive” on his return to the World Rally Championship at next year’s Monte Carlo Rally.

Loeb “can still be competitive" on WRC return
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The WRC’s most successful driver is set to make a comeback to the championship next month having secured a deal with M-Sport Ford to drive a fourth Puma Rally1 at the famous Monte Carlo event, which he's won seven times previously.

Loeb is only confirmed to contest one rally at this stage but the team hasn’t ruled out further appearances.

The nine-time world champion will be partnered with a new co-driver as Isabelle Galmiche, a long-time member of Loeb’s gravel crew, fills the seat vacated by the recently retired Daniel Elena.

At 47-year-old Loeb remains confident he can still challenge the best in the WRC field despite a year away from the championship, where he has focussed on tackling the Dakar Rally and Extreme E with Prodrive.
The Frenchman’s last appearance in the WRC came in 2020 when he finished third at Rally Turkey.

“I like what I do, I always enjoying driving, but when I do a WRC event it is just an amazing feeling,” said Loeb.

Sebastien Loeb, M-Sport WRC

Sebastien Loeb, M-Sport WRC

“It is something I enjoy a lot, I think I can still be competitive, okay Monte Carlo is maybe not the easiest event to start with a team as there can be some tricky conditions.

“I have some good memories from this rally and it is always an incredible atmosphere around the rally.”

In preparation for his WRC return, Loeb has tested the all-new Puma on two occasions in Spain and France, and has been impressed by the new hybrid machinery.

“It was a pleasure to discover the new technology found in the Puma Rally1 cars, I think it is quite similar to the 2017 cars but with a hybrid system added on it,” he added.

“It makes it a bit more challenging to use and it is exciting to have something new to manage in the car.

“When I tested the car I was really impressed by how well balanced it is and how powerful it is with the hybrid, I really enjoyed it.”

The 2022 WRC season begins in Monte Carlo from 20-23 January.

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