Loeb open to more Citroen WRC tests in 2017

Sebastien Loeb is open to a return to Citroen’s C3 WRC for more testing in the future following his first run in the French firm’s 2017 World Rally Car last week.

Loeb drove the C3 WRC in wet then drying conditions in Alsace, reportedly completing close to 200 miles in ‘stage’ mode.

The nine-time champion found the car a handful in changeable conditions, with his comments on a lack of feel and driveability mirroring those of Citroen’s regular drivers, but was pleased with how the C3 ran in the dry.

Asked if he would be interested in testing again, Loeb told L’Equipe: “Making kilometres and kilometres of testing is not the most exciting, but when there are things to discover and you have not been driving the same car for 15 years then it’s nice.

"I don’t see myself doing tests all year, but a day from time-to-time, why not?”

Loeb was also pleased to report the speed which carried him to 78 WRC wins remains, five years on from his retirement from full-time competition.

“When I was driving, I had the feeling that nothing has changed and that I’m still as fast,” he said.

“But my motivation [with the test] was the find the potential of these new cars and I have to admit I did not expect such a difference in the speed in the corners and in the dry.”

Citroen team principal Yves Matton was pleased to have Loeb’s input into the C3 WRC ahead of Rally Germany, an event Loeb won nine times in 10 years.

Matton underlined the importance of his squad’s pre-event running.

Matton said: “In preparation for this event, we set up one of the most intense test sessions in the history of Citroen Racing.

"On the first six days, the appointed drivers were able to drive on the three types of surface encountered during the race. They were all satisfied with the work done. Sebastien Loeb then did an additional day’s work.

"The heavy rain that fell in the morning wasn’t ideal but it helped us gather valuable information on driving in such specific conditions.

"In the dry, Seb’s impressions matched those of Kris [Meeke], Craig [Breen] and Andreas [Mikkelsen] and we compared the different technical feedback.

"Everything appears to be following on consistently after the Tour de Corse, where we showed how competitive the C3 WRC is on Tarmac.”

Gronholm doubts Loeb WRC comeback

Loeb’s C3 test has prompted talk of a return to the WRC for the Frenchman, but his chief rival during his time in the series, Marcus Gronholm, said he couldn’t see such a move coming.

Gronholm said: “I am very surprised if he is coming back, I don’t think so. The competition is quite high now and he wants to win and it’s not so easy. No, I don’t think he will return.”

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