Loeb eyeing WRC outings as 2023 discussions continue

Rally legend Sebastien Loeb is open to contesting another partial World Rally Championship campaign next year, but says it is too early to confirm his 2023 plans.

Loeb eyeing WRC outings as 2023 discussions continue
Listen to this article

The nine-time world rally champion returned to the WRC this year with M-Sport Ford for what was initially a one-off appearance at Monte Carlo in January, which he subsequently won alongside Isabelle Galmiche to net an 80th career WRC win.

Since the triumph, Loeb has made appearances in Portugal and Kenya with this weekend’s outing at the Acropolis Rally his fourth for the British team. It is unclear if the Frenchman will rejoin M-Sport for any further WRC events this year.

Alongside his WRC outings, the 48-year-old has this year contested campaigns in Extreme E and the new World Rally Raid Championship, driving for the Prodrive run X44 and Bahrain Raid Xtreme operations respectively. Loeb is currently sitting top of the standings in the latter.

Asked ahead of the Acropolis Rally about his 2023 plans, Loeb said he would like to contest some WRC rallies next year but ruled out the possibility of a full-time programme.

“Maybe some rallies, Dakar,” said Loeb. “I don’t have a clear proposition. For sure I enjoy WRC and I have fun, so why not do some rallies?

“I don’t plan a full season, but at the moment it’s too early to say something. I am also discussing for cross-country, but why not.”

Sebastien Loeb, Isabelle Galmiche, M-Sport Ford World Rally Team Ford Puma Rally1

Sebastien Loeb, Isabelle Galmiche, M-Sport Ford World Rally Team Ford Puma Rally1

Photo by: M-Sport

Looking ahead to this weekend’s rally, Loeb is hopeful he can deliver a strong result on his return to the event he last competed 10 years ago, and has won on three occasions, the last in 2012.

The Frenchman’s return to M-Sport’s roster represents a boost for the Ford squad that is desperate to secure a haul of points after a disastrous Ypres Rally Belgium last month.

“For sure they [the team] hope I will do a strong result and I hope also to be in a good rhythm and to fight at the front, like all the drivers here,” he added. “I will do my best, for sure. I tried to prepare for the rally as well as possible.

“The feeling from shakedown was okay apart from a little problem which I think we solved. I try not to take any extra pressure and I would like to finish as well as possible.

“To avoid problems, mistakes and have a clean rally – that’s the target.”

It is understood M-Sport has fixed the misfire Loeb suffered in the morning shakedown.

Loeb will drive one of five M-Sport Pumas in the rally alongside full-timers Craig Breen and Gus Greensmith and part-time driver Pierre-Louis Loubet and privateer Jourdan Serderidis.

Adrien Fourmaux has made the trip to Greece but won’t compete following the damage his Puma sustained in a crash in Belgium, which left the team unable to repair the car in time for Greece.

Read Also:
shares
comments

Related video

Toyota boss keen to retain Lappi for 2023 WRC season
Previous article

Toyota boss keen to retain Lappi for 2023 WRC season

Next article

WRC Acropolis Rally: Neuville pips WRC2 star Suninen to grab early lead

WRC Acropolis Rally: Neuville pips WRC2 star Suninen to grab early lead
How trailblazer Kalle Rovanpera has ripped up the WRC record book Prime

How trailblazer Kalle Rovanpera has ripped up the WRC record book

At the tender age of 22, Kalle Rovanpera is redefining what’s possible to achieve in rallying and inspiring a new legion of fans as a result. The newly-crowned World Rally Championship title-winner and his peers reflect on his ability and the start of his success in the top tier.

WRC
Nov 26, 2022
How Hyundai and Neuville gatecrashed Toyota's homecoming party Prime

How Hyundai and Neuville gatecrashed Toyota's homecoming party

Thierry Neuville signed off the 2022 World Rally Championship season with his second win of the season in Japan after Toyota rival Elfyn Evans suffered a late puncture. With Sebastien Ogier and Kalle Rovanpera also delayed by punctures and incidents, it opened the door for Neuville and Ott Tanak to record Hyundai's second 1-2 of the season in Toyota's own backyard

WRC
Nov 14, 2022
The message a WRC stalwart sent which its new king couldn’t answer Prime

The message a WRC stalwart sent which its new king couldn’t answer

Sebastien Ogier might be the outgoing World Rally champion, but it didn’t stop him reminding everyone of the skills that made him an eight-time world champion. As victory at Rally Spain led Toyota’s charge to a titles clean sweep, it did pose a question to newly-crowned champion Kalle Rovanpera which he could not answer

WRC
Oct 24, 2022
Motorsport.com gets to grips as a WRC co-driver Prime

Motorsport.com gets to grips as a WRC co-driver

The majority of headlines may focus on the exploits of drivers in the World Rally Championship, but the challenges facing their co-drivers is no less demanding. We got in the passenger seat with Toyota Gazoo Racing to find out just what it takes to succeed

WRC
Oct 6, 2022
How Rally New Zealand encapsulated record-breaking Rovanpera’s WRC title charge Prime

How Rally New Zealand encapsulated record-breaking Rovanpera’s WRC title charge

Kalle Rovanpera’s coronation as the new World Rally Championship king had been a long time coming, only to be postponed by hiccups in Belgium and Greece. But at Rally New Zealand the “Full Send” Finn demonstrated exactly how he's been able to rewrite the rallying record book as he stormed to victory to become the youngest ever world champion

WRC
Oct 3, 2022
How team orders could make Hyundai's historic Acropolis Rally a Greek tragedy Prime

How team orders could make Hyundai's historic Acropolis Rally a Greek tragedy

Thierry Neuville led a maiden Hyundai 1-2-3 in the World Rally Championship, as the previously soft i20 N became a battle-hardened Greek warrior at the Acropolis Rally. But with team orders in play between the winner and Hyundai’s title protagonist Ott Tanak, could the result come back to haunt the team?

WRC
Sep 12, 2022
How Tanak triumphed amid a series of Belgium WRC blunders Prime

How Tanak triumphed amid a series of Belgium WRC blunders

After runaway World Rally Championship leader Kalle Rovanpera made his first major mistake of the season, the chance to take advantage was wide open for the chasing pack. Several of his rivals faltered to grasp the opportunity, but Ott Tanak made no such mistake and demonstrated his class with a third win of the campaign

WRC
Aug 22, 2022
Inside Toyota’s new WRC dream factory where rally conquerers come to life Prime

Inside Toyota’s new WRC dream factory where rally conquerers come to life

Toyota locked out the top four places in the World Rally Championship's recent Safari Rally Kenya in a clear indication of its GR Yaris Rally1 hybrid's pace and durability. Motorsport.com was recently given a tour of the new factory where its cars are designed, tested and built, and it reveals much about the commitment of the Japanese marque to continued WRC success.

WRC
Aug 19, 2022