Rally legend Sebastien Loeb tests M-Sport 2022 WRC Puma in Spain

Nine-time world champion Sebastien Loeb has tested M-Sport’s new 2022 World Rally Championship Ford Puma in Spain.

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Loeb joined the British squad on Tuesday for the latest tarmac test of its 2022 hybrid Puma ahead of the WRC’s move to new hybrid Rally1 regulations next year.

Loeb has been linked with a possible return to the WRC next year with M-Sport although it is thought should a deal be forthcoming it would only be a partial campaign. M-Sport declined to comment about the test when approached by Motorsport.com.

The 47-year-old last appeared in the WRC at Rally Turkey in 2020, finishing third while driving for Hyundai during a two-year stint as a part-time driver. Since retiring from full-time WRC action at the end of 2012, the Frenchman has contested 16 World Rally events for Citroen and Hyundai.

This season Loeb has driven for Prodrive as part of its Bahrain Raid Xtreme programme and is due to compete in next year’s Dakar Rally after retiring from the 2021 edition racing for the British team.

Ford Puma WRC Rally1

Ford Puma WRC Rally1

Photo by: Yanis Maza

Loeb has also been racing in the new Extreme E electric series this year for Lewis Hamilton’s Team X44 venture. Earlier this month, the British squad confirmed the signing of former Hyundai driver Craig Breen but it is yet to announce the drivers for its remaining two full-time seats for 2022.

Rising French star Adrien Fourmaux is widely expected to retain his seat having played a key role in the development of the Puma while Gus Greensmith has been tipped to also continue.

M-Sport team principal Richard Millener mentioned prior to last weekend's Rally Spain that it would be “lovely” to reach a deal with Loeb, but outlined there are many hurdles to clear for this to happen.

Reports circulating that an agreement has been reached appear to be premature.

“There are a lot of obstacles to do something with Seb and at the moment we are no further on to be able to say if anything is going to happen or not,” said Millener. “It would be lovely but at the minute we are concentrating on other avenues and sorting what we do between Adrien and Gus and Craig for the year and see how we can best do that.

“Obviously there is substantial investment to get things up and running next year and we have got to get all that in place first before we go looking at anything else.”

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