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Sebastien Loeb to make WRC return in 2018

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Sebastien Loeb will make his return to the FIA World Rally Championship in 2018 after three years away, having signed a three-event agreement with Citroen.

Loeb ruled the rally world between 2004 and 2012, taking nine consecutive world titles with Citroen before stepping away from the series in order to pursue other racing interests in touring cars and rallycross.

Loeb made his last WRC appearance in 2015 when he entered the Rallye Monte Carlo, but fueled speculation over a possible comeback when he tested for Citroen earlier this year.

The French manufacturer confirmed on Wednesday that Loeb and co-driver Daniel Elena would be returning for the rallies in Mexico, Corsica and Spain next year, replacing Craig Breen for all three rounds.

“The feeling you get in rally is one of the most thrilling feelings I’ve ever experienced, and I was excited about driving one of these new WRCs in a race,” Loeb said.

“It’s nice to be able to do it in the team with which I’ve enjoyed so much success. Everyone was pleased after the test sessions done this year, myself first and foremost, and these three appearances were the logical next step.

“I don’t have any expectations, I just want to enjoy myself. I thought it made sense to take part in the French round, especially since I’ve always loved racing on tarmac, although I’m not familiar with the current route of the Tour de Corse.

“Spain seemed like a good option too. And although I’m expecting it to be pretty tough given the time that has passed since I last competed there, I also wanted to contest a gravel rally.

“We opted for Mexico, since I have good memories of racing there and the route hasn’t changed too much since I was last involved in the championship.”

Tempers flare as Graham Rahal, Sebastien Bourdais collide at Indy

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INDIANAPOLIS — A multicar crash with just over 20 laps remaining in the Indianapolis 500 had tempers flaring Sunday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Graham Rahal angrily confronted Sebastien Bourdais after the two collided while racing for position entering the third turn. As they spun beside each other, Rahal threw his hands up in the air and continued to gesture wildly at Bourdais as their cars came to a stop.

Rahal scrambled out of his car and went directly to Bourdais’ cockpit to scream at the driver before the safety crew arrived. Rahal then yanked off his gloves and threw them in his car after punching the air a few times.

The crash began after Bourdais’ left rear tire hit Rahal’s right front as they entered the corner and Bourdais seemed to come down on Rahal’s line.

“I’m just very disappointed,” Rahal told NBC Sports after being released from the care center. “It’s just another year to sit and think about it. I respect Sebastien as a driver, but I don’t respect that move.

“At those speeds, that’s how you kill somebody. I’m just not a fan of squeezing and putting people in those positions.”

Bourdais climbed out of his car shortly afterward and seemed unhurt. He was cited for avoidable contact by the IndyCar stewards and seemed somewhat remorseful about the move in an interview with NBC Sports.

“I didn’t think he had as much of the car as he did,” Bourdais said. “It’s always a dynamic thing. He got a run, it stalled there for a while, we made contact, and it sets up the whole thing. At that point. I’m just trying to collect the whole thing. It’s always easy to say I should have given up going into the corner.”

Rahal and Bourdais were former teammates at Newman-Haas Raccing.

“He’s been struggling all day,” Rahal said. “I was lifting a little bit to manage my gap. You can see him squeezing me and turns into me, and there nothing you can do. With 20 to go, you have to go. I think Sebastien knows that, which is probably why he hasn’t said much to me.”

The race was red-flagged at 3:17 p.m. on Lap 180 of 200 to clean up the debris from the multicar pileup.