Sébastien Loeb Could Do More WRC Tests With Citroën
The nine-time champion recently returned to the team for testing.
Sebastien Loeb was one of the greatest WRC drivers during the 2000s, tallying up 78 rally wins during his tenure with Citroen. He even won nine consecutive championships from 2004 to 2012, solidifying his spot in the record books for the French marque. After retiring from rally full-time five years ago, he has since returned to assist Citroën with the testing of its C3 WRC car, giving the team feedback to improve its efforts during the 2017 season. Rumors have suggested that Loeb could make a return to competitive WRC action, but as recent developments have shown, the rally star is still unsure of his decision.
Initially, Loeb noted that his relationship with Citroën rally was strictly for testing. However, Loeb also mentioned his excitement in regards to hopping in a new WRC car.
"I'm still passionate about rallying ... Of all the disciplines I've tried since I retired five years ago, it's the sensation of rallying that I love most."
He performed a series of assessments that ranged from wet to dry asphalt conditions, and eventually gave the report that mirrored those of fellow drivers Kris Meeke and Craig Breen.
"In preparation for this event, we set up one of the most intense test sessions in the history of Citroën Racing ... Sebastien Loeb then did an additional day's work," team head Yves Matton said, according to Motorsport. "The heavy rain that fell in the morning wasn't ideal but it helped us gather valuable information on driving in such specific conditions."
"In the dry, Seb's impressions matched those of Kris, Craig and Andreas and we compared the different technical feedback."
When asked if he would continue testing for Citroën throughout the season, Loeb told L'Equipe, "I don't see myself doing tests all year, but a day from time-to-time, why not?"
According to the Frenchman, his speed is "still there", and he mentioned that he "did not expect such a difference in the speed in the corners and in the dry", something he was unsure of after being out of a WRC car for five years. This gives hope to Matton as he announced earlier in the year that he wasn't ruling out Loeb's return.
"For 2018, that is quite far away. I have no idea," he said of Loeb's future with the team. "I will not tell you no, because it's not no, but I will not say yes, because it's not yes. I can understand the attraction to bring this guy back."
One of Loeb's greatest rivals during his most successful stint was Marcus Gronholm, and when he was asked for incite on Loeb's situation, he explained, "I'm very surprised if he is coming back, I don't think [it will happen]. The competition is quite high now and he wants to win and it's not so easy. I don't think he will return."