Nine-time World Rally Champion Sebastien Loeb ended his full-time rallying career in 2012, but while he has shifted his main focus to the World Touring Car Championship, he hasn’t completely given up the WRC, either.
He made four appearances in that series in 2013 and after staying out of the entire 2014 campaign, Loeb is set to make a return again in January’s 2015 season-opener, the Monte Carlo Rally.
Loeb will be paired with long-time co-driver Daniel Elena in a Citroen DS3 WRC. He will join Kris Meeke and Paul Nagle as points-nominated crews for Citroen, which will compete under the DS banner next year.
“I think Daniel and I would agree that Monte-Carlo is one of our favorite events,” Loeb said in a release on the WRC website. “The beautiful roads, the fact of having to gamble when it comes to tire choice and the party atmosphere that you get on the stages: We can’t wait to experience it all again!
“And of course, it’s an honor to support DS in this new chapter of its history. With the DS 3 WRC – “the little racer” as I nicknamed it when it was first released – I have a lot of good memories; I hope that the 2015 Monte-Carlo will provide yet another. Obviously, it’s going to be a personal challenge for me, as I haven’t competed in a rally for over a year.”
Loeb has won the Monte Carlo Rally seven times, including his most recent trip in 2013. He’ll tune up for his WRC return in a French rally this coming weekend with his wife, Severine, calling notes for him.
In 2014, Loeb finished third in the WTCC standings in a Citroen C-Elysee with two race victories early in the year in Morocco and Slovakia.
Citroen team principal Yves Matton is obviously pleased to have Loeb and Elena’s services for Monte Carlo.
“…When I told [the teams] today that Sébastien Loeb and Daniel Elena would be driving a DS 3 WRC at Rallye Monte-Carlo, the news was greeted with great enthusiasm,” Matton said in his own thoughts. “With seven wins here, Seb and Daniel are undeniably the event’s greatest specialists, and I’m sure that they will be extremely competitive.”