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Loeb to take final bow in WRC

2013-10-01 11:24

MOTORSPORT LEGEND: Sebastien Loeb’s racing career is staggering - 78 overall wins, 116 podium finishes, 896 stage wins, 1619 points, only 20 retirements… and, of course, nine World championships, shared with Daniel Elena. Image: CITROEN

78 overall wins, 116 podium finishes and nine World Championship titles... Sebastien Loeb and co-driver Daniel Elena have left an indelible mark on the World Rally championship. Sadly, the 2013 French Rally will mark the end of an era for the pair in the sport.

STRASBOURG, France - Regardless of the outcome, the 2013 Rally de France Alsace (Oct 3-6) will go down in world motorsport history as Sebastien Loeb and Daniel Elena’s last competitive outing for the Citroen World Rally Team.

With 78 wins, the nine-times World champions will be looking for one final victory. Team mates Mikko Hirvonen/Jarmo Lehtinen and Dani Sordo/Carlos del Barrio will also want to celebrate the pair's final outing with a good result.

The French rally, based in Alsace since 2010, has given Loeb/Elena two of their nine World titles. Now they are about to relinquish their crown in what will be their final rally in the No.1 DS3 WRC car.


Several hundred thousand fans are expected to line the roads, hoping for the same result - to see the 79th win of the most successful rally driver yet.

Loeb said: “My aim is to achieve the best result but you have to bear in mind that I haven’t competed in a rally since the start of May 2013. Even then, it was on gravel in Argentina. I haven’t exactly been dossing around the house since then but I’ll inevitably need time to get back into the swing of things.

"How long that takes will probably determine the outcome. There’s no pressure on me, no championship to go for, and I’ve nothing to prove. Above all, I’m here to enjoy myself and to thank all the people who have supported me for so long.

"I hope it’ll be a great big party.”

In the second DS3 WRC, Hirvonen and Lehtinen will be looking to extend their run of six podium finishes on tarmac. Hirvonen said: “It seems I have become a real tarmac specialist. If we want to stay in the fight for the Manufacturers’ title we have to score heavily with both cars.

“My aim will be to do at least as well as in Germany. This rally isn’t an easy one, because there are a lot of changes in road surface. If it rains, it can become even trickier.”


Sordo and Barrio will line-up at the start determined to build on their win at the 2013 German Rally. Sordo, runner-up in 2010 and 2011, has finally shaken off repeated questioning about when he would win his first rally: "I hope Rally Deutschland was just one stage and I’ll have the opportunity to enjoy that feeling again. "I really like this rally. It is an extremely fast course – in fact the one at which we go quickest all season, more than 200km/h.

"Whether it stays dry or it rains, I don’t mind. The rally will be special because we’ll be alongside Seb and Daniel for the last time. Although the transition has taken place gradually this season, it will still be a special moment for the WRC.”

From epic crashes to fantastic victories, motorsport legend Sebastien Loeb looks back on his career ahead of his final competitive outing in the World Rally championship. Check out his top 12 WRC moments!


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