Hyundai signs Sebastien Loeb in two-year WRC deal from 2019 season
Sebastien Loeb has joined Hyundai for the 2019 FIA World Rally Championship with the contract for Dani Sordo extended by one season.
Following the decision of Peugeot to pull out from the FIA World Rallycross Championship and Citroen signing Sebastien Ogier in WRC, it left Loeb with no drive for the upcoming season apart from his Dakar run in January.
It though opened other options for the Frenchman as he started talks with Hyundai for a possible WRC deal which has now been confirmed by the Korean manufacturer. The two parties have signed a two-year contract which runs until the 2020 WRC season.
Loeb along with co-driver Daniel Elena will make his Hyundai debut prior to the 2019 season-opener in Monaco and will drive the Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC in six events in the whole year starting with the Monte-Carlo Rally.
"I am delighted to announce that Daniel and I will compete in six WRC events for Hyundai Motorsport in 2019," said Loeb. "Winning at Rally de Espana re-ignited my desire to continue competing at the very front of WRC.
"Joining Hyundai will give us a fresh challenge and one that I can’t wait to tackle. I have been impressed with the team’s approach and their determination to succeed." Hyundai is the first non-Citroen car Loeb will drive in his long WRC career thus far.
"Sebastien’s announcement is hugely important for our team and we are overjoyed that he has agreed a two-year contract," said Team Principal Michel. "Sealing a deal with someone of his immense talent and calibre shows that we are an attractive and competitive proposition in the WRC."
With Loeb's announcement, Hyundai also confirmed one-year contract extension for Sordo along with co-driver Carlos del Barrio which will see the Spaniard drive the i20 Coupe WRC in eight events - one more than what he did in 2017.
"Hyundai Motorsport has become a special team to me," said Sordo. "We have built some good memories over the years and, alongside Carlos, I felt that 2018 was one of my most competitive seasons.
"We know that when things work in our favour we can really be strong contenders. We have an exciting crew line-up with Sebastien coming on board. He brings an immeasurable amount of experience which will be a huge benefit to the entire team, as we move forward."
[Note: This story was also written by me on FormulaRapida.net]