Loeb splits with co-driver Elena after 23-year partnership

Sebastien Loeb and long-term co-driver Daniel Elena have parted company after 23 years together.

Loeb splits with co-driver Elena after 23-year partnership

Loeb admitted “it wasn’t an easy decision” to make and it is understood that he called Elena around midday today to deliver the news to him, having most recently competed together at this year’s Dakar Rally for the Bahrain Raid Xtreme team.

The Prodrive-build BRX1 car’s debut at the Dakar Rally was marred with mechanical problems, including a broken suspension arm on stage six and a damaged bearing on stage seven. Retirement followed for the pair on stage eight when they picked up two punctures in the opening 80km and only had one spare wheel.

Posting on his official Instagram account this afternoon, Loeb wrote: “After five Dakar rallies together – and after discussions with the team – we came to the conclusion that maybe it would be good to try something else.

“It is not without a heartache that we will not start the next edition as teammates. It wasn't an easy decision to make, or the easiest phone call to make after these 23 years, but I have no doubts about your ability to bounce back.

“We will have the opportunity to share our passion again together and to look back on our great moments.”

Read Also:

Loeb has insisted the decision to part company will not affect his friendship with Elena moving forward.

Nine-time World Rally champion Loeb left the series at the end of 2020 after two seasons in the Hyundai Motorsport camp to pursue a win at the Dakar, although all parties hinted at the time that they could join forces again in the future. Their best results with Hyundai came at Rally Chile in 2019 and Rally Turkey in 2020 where they finished on the third step of the podium.

That followed a lengthy spell with Citroen where Loeb and Elena secured nine consecutive WRC titles between 2004 and 2012. Except for 2006, these were achieved under the official works banner in three different cars: the Xsara, C4 and DS3.

The pair joined forces for the first time at Rallye du Val d’Agout in 1998, the scene of their first win as teammates in a Citroen Saxo Kit Car.

shares
comments

Related video

WRC "turned calendar upside down" for safe start in COVID measures
Previous article

WRC "turned calendar upside down" for safe start in COVID measures

Next article

Breen crash "hasn't affected" Hyundai's Rally Croatia plans

Breen crash "hasn't affected" Hyundai's Rally Croatia plans
Load comments
How WRC legend Ogier will be remembered by his peers Prime

How WRC legend Ogier will be remembered by his peers

After winning his eighth WRC title, Sebastien Ogier has drawn the curtain on his full-time rallying career. To understand Ogier's legacy, many of his former rivals, team-mates and colleagues have shared their thoughts on a vastly successful career

WRC
Nov 26, 2021
Ranking lost WRC legend Richard Burns' 10 best rallies Prime

Ranking lost WRC legend Richard Burns' 10 best rallies

Richard Burns was a determined driver who took on the best rally drivers in the world during a boom period in the early 2000s, and beat them. On the 20th anniversary of his crowning glory in winning the 2001 WRC title, and 16 years on from his death on the same date, we pick out his 10 greatest drives

WRC
Nov 25, 2021
The internal focus that made Burns a legendary world rally champion Prime

The internal focus that made Burns a legendary world rally champion

At the turn of the millennium, WRC was full to the brim with rallying's great and good - and 20 years ago on this day, Richard Burns became England's first world rally champion. Although Burns' natural talent drove him to the top, his steely determination and mental strength was the key attribute behind his title-winning form

WRC
Nov 25, 2021
How Ogier emerged from Loeb's shadow to form his own WRC legend Prime

How Ogier emerged from Loeb's shadow to form his own WRC legend

OPINION: Adding an eighth WRC title to his name, Sebastien Ogier has bowed out from full-time rallying in style. Having been compared throughout his career with nine-time champion Sebastien Loeb, Ogier has convincingly demonstrated that he can stand on his own as one of the greatest rally drivers in history

WRC
Nov 22, 2021
How confronting self-doubt drove Ogier to become a WRC legend Prime

How confronting self-doubt drove Ogier to become a WRC legend

This weekend's Rally Monza marks the end of an era in the World Rally Championship, as Sebastien Ogier prepares to bring down the curtain on his full-time career with an eighth title. For all his enduring success, the Toyota driver reveals in an exclusive interview that lingering insecurities have compelled his quest for perfection

WRC
Nov 18, 2021
The third generation McRae on his way to the WRC Prime

The third generation McRae on his way to the WRC

The McRae family name is steeped in rallying history, with eight British titles between Jimmy, Colin and Alister - plus the small matter of the 1995 WRC title too. Next on the conveyor of talent is Alister's 17-year-old Max McRae, who’s setting out in Australia to conquer the world of rallying and return the famous name to the WRC...

WRC
Nov 12, 2021
Inside Hyundai’s radical approach to prepare for the WRC hybrid era Prime

Inside Hyundai’s radical approach to prepare for the WRC hybrid era

As the World Rally Championship undergoes its biggest shift in regulations for a generation, teams are taking radical measures to prepare for its new era. Hyundai's unique approach involved conducting a private 1500km rally in Italy and Motorsport.com went to see how the team is preparing for 2022

WRC
Nov 4, 2021
How Neuville stole the show from Ogier vs Evans slugfest in Spain Prime

How Neuville stole the show from Ogier vs Evans slugfest in Spain

While all pre-event chat focused on the two World Rally Championship title fighters, their closest challenger charged into the spotlight on Rally Spain. Thierry Neuville's star turn and another strong drive from Elfyn Evans in his fight with Sebastien Ogier made for an intriguing event as the 2021 campaign nears its crunch point

WRC
Oct 18, 2021