Sebastien Loeb returns to WRC in 2018 with Citroen on limited schedule
Citroen World Rally Team has announced Sebastian Loeb in a part-time deal for a FIA World Rally Championship return in the 2018 season. The Frenchman already tested the C3 WRC car in August and the off-season, both on asphalt and gravel terrain.
The 43-year-old will have his regular co-driver Daniel Elena with him and will start his stint in Rally Mexico during February 16-18, which will be followed by his home Rally France event during April 6-8. His last outing will be the Rally Spain during the October 26-28 weekend.
The nine-time WRC champion will partner Kris Meeke in the three events replacing Craig Breen, who has signed for just the 10 rounds. Since retiring at the end of 2012, this will be Loeb's third outing with Citroen in WRC, after competing in four rounds in 2013 and one in 2015.
"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. It’s nice to be able to do it in the team with which I’ve enjoyed so much success," said Loeb.
"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."
Team boss Yves Matton added: "I’m delighted to see there will be another chapter in the great history between between Sebastien Loeb and Citroen. He couldn’t return to the WRC with anyone other than us!
"Seb confirmed he has lost none of his speed and skill during the test sessions, although he is bound to be short of knowledge of the stages and time in the car compared with the increasingly tough competition."
Post his WRC stint, the French star has competed in various championships from FIA GT Series to FIA World Touring Car Championship to FIA World Rallycross Championship and also the Dakar Rally. Meanwhile, he has also raced in a limited capacity in Porsche Supercup, Global Rallycross and FIA European Rallycross Championship.