Sébastien Loeb: “I know it will be difficult and therefore I’m working hard and trying to prepare myself to be as good as possible."
Sébastien Loeb’s debut in WTCC gets closer. After nine titles in the World Rally Championship the French ace is fully committed, test session after test session at the wheel of the Citroën C-Elysée, in order to prepare himself in the best way.
“I know it will be difficult and therefore I’m working hard and trying to prepare myself to be as good as possible. So far I still don’t know where I am; my goal is comparing my performance with those of my team-mates and trying to improve.”
Was it easy to decide leaving rally after winning so much? “Of course leaving a category in which you are on top and enjoy yourself is not something you do light-heartedly. But I wanted to stop with rally; I was looking for a new challenge and was interested in racing. WTCC is also a World Championship and something I could do together with Citroën. It was the best option.”
Are you happy with how you are getting used to the car and the touring car driving style? “I’m happy with the feeling I have with the car. The feeling I have from the testing is not bad, but for sure the race weekends will be something different. You have limited time to post a qualifying lap, you must find the good feeling with the tyres, you have to fight closely with other cars. Something that I will only discover from Marrakech. I think I have improved in driving, but now I need to get used to overtaking.”
One of crucial factors in touring cars is saving the front tyres. Is this something that worries you? “You can’t compare WTCC with rally in nearly nothing, except saving the tyres. In some special stages it is important to take care of your tyres, and I was not bad on this. My driving style is not too aggressive with tyres. So I am confident I would be able to manage this, especially because our car is not so understeering as I expected. These are interesting cars to drive and it takes time to be able to go at limit.”
One of your team-mates is Yvan Muller, arguably the best WTCC driver ever. A difficult term of comparison for you... “I’m happy to work with him, because he knows very well the category and this kind of cars. For sure sometimes is difficult to be compared with the best, but it helps you to understand when you make mistake and how to improve. Of course this is a not an easy situation for myself, but I’m sure that will help me to grow up as a touring car driver. One thing is for sure: I don’t think I’m ready to beat him.”
There were rumours about you going back to Pikes Peak or taking part in the Dakar rally. Anything true? “I’m not interested for the time being. My full focus in on WTCC now. It is a new and difficult challenge for me. I want to concentrate on it. The only exception will be staying at the pit wall as team principal at the 24 Hours of Le Mans…”