New sensations for Sebastien Loeb with the Patrouille de France Shortly before flying out to Sapporo for the Rally Japan, Sebastien Loeb took the time to take up an invitation from the members of the Patrouille de France formation flying team to...
New sensations for Sebastien Loeb with the Patrouille de France
Shortly before flying out to Sapporo for the Rally Japan, Sebastien Loeb took the time to take up an invitation from the members of the Patrouille de France formation flying team to join them as passenger in one of the squad's nine Alpha Jets. For his maiden flight, the four-time World Champion flew over the splendid landscapes of France's Provence region and the French Alps.
Following his arrival at the Patrouille de France's base in Salon de Provence, the Citroen driver kicked off the day with a series of briefings with the pilots and mechanics, before being strapped into the passenger seat of the plane flown by Capitaine Ludovic Bourgeon, the team's second solo pilot. The hour-long excursion saw the nine Alpha Jets pass over the Sainte Baume Mountain, Saint Tropez, Orange and Gap. The Patrouille de France concluded the flight with a short aerobatic display over the airfield.
Back on terra firma, Sebastien Loeb made no attempt to conceal his excitement: "It was an unforgettable experience, and a dream come true for me," he exclaimed. "The Patrouille de France represents France across the world and I am proud to have been invited to join them today. They are all passionate about their flying and there are several parallels with rallying, including the efficiency of the vocabulary and terms they use to communicate from plane to plane, which wasn't unlike the pacenotes we use on stages. You could also sense the complicity that exists between the pilots and their technical team..."
"I'm not used to being a passenger, but I thoroughly enjoyed the experience. It wasn't scary, either; Capitaine Bourgeon's flying is extremely precise and he is clearly in control. I had every confidence, so I just say back and profited as much as I could from the flight," added the Citroen driver. "I was particularly impressed by how close the planes were when we were flying in formation. The aerobatics were simply breathtaking and I have to say that my anti-G flying suit was very effective! Hopefully, I will be able to return the favour and give the members of the Patrouille de France a chance to sample my world very soon..."