Loeb to make Citroen WRC return for testing

Sebastien Loeb will return to Citroen Racing and test a C3 WRC on asphalt for the first time next month.

Loeb to make Citroen WRC return for testing
Sébastien Loeb, Citroën Total Abu Dhabi World Rally Team
#104 Peugeot Sport Peugeot 3008 DKR: Sébastien Loeb, Daniel Elena
Stéphane Lefebvre, Gabin Moreau, Citroën C3 WRC, Citroën World Rally Team
Stéphane Lefebvre, Gabin Moreau, Citroën C3 WRC, Citroën World Rally Team
Craig Breen, Scott Martin, Citroën C3 WRC, Citroën World Rally Team
Sébastien Loeb and Daniel Elena, Citroën DS3 WRC, Citroën Total Abu Dhabi World Rally Team
Sébastien Loeb and Daniel Elena, Citroën DS3 WRC, Citroën Total Abu Dhabi World Rally Team
Sébastien Loeb and Daniel Elena, Citroën DS3 WRC, Citroën Total Abu Dhabi World Rally Team

The establishment of PSA Motorsport – encompassing the three brands Peugeot, Citroen and DS – has allowed the now Peugeot-contracted Loeb to drive Citroen’s 2017 World Rally Car. Loeb will drive the C3 for a day on asphalt.

Loeb, who won 78 WRC rounds in a 13-year career with Citroen, said: “With the creation of the PSA Motorsport entity, we can now form a single big team. At the same time as competing in cross-country and the World Rallycross Championship with Peugeot, I can bring my experience to Citroen by testing the C3.

"I can’t wait to get back into a World Rally Car and test how the technology has changed in that discipline.”

After a year away from the championship developing the C3 WRC in 2016, Citroen’s full-time return to the series has been fraught with setbacks.

Lead driver and Rally Mexico winner Kris Meeke was benched for the last round in Poland, with Andreas Mikkelsen driving the car and offering another angle on the car’s development.

Loeb retired from the full-time World Rally Championship on the back of his ninth title in 2012. He competed in the World Touring Car Championship before moving to rallycross and a Dakar programme. Despite those changes, Loeb said he remains a rally driver at heart.

“I’m still passionate about rallying,” he said. “Of all the disciplines I’ve tried since I retired 5 years ago, it's the sensation of rallying that I love most.”

There is no hint that Loeb will return to competition – and Citroen has already committed to Mikkelsen re-joining the Parisian firm alongside Meeke and Craig Breen – for next month’s Rally Germany.

Head of PSA Motorsport Jean-Marc Finot explained the thinking behind bringing Loeb back to a World Rally Car.

Finot said: “Sebastien shares Group PSA’s values. That is fundamentally why his career with Citroen and then Peugeot has been closely intertwined for so many years. He’s absolutely in tune with the team spirit and is one of the team’s pillars."

Loeb is one of the few drivers still active with competition history using a car with an active centre differential – one of the areas Citroen has struggled with the C3 WRC.

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