Sébastien Loeb and the WRC, a fatal attraction, a story that has ended several times, but never really ended. Just like two lovers who stay together for years, then they break up, but they can’t – in one way or another – say goodbye. Today the long-awaited official announcement has arrived: the 9-time world rally champion will be part of the M-Sport Ford team during the 2022 season.
Loeb will race next season behind the wheel of the team’s third Ford Puma Rally1 Hybrid based in Cumbria, England. He will do it part-time, for the moment racing only at the Rallye Monte-Carlom, the first of 13 events on the calendar for next season which, in fact, will mark the start of the new hybrid era of the WRC.
When not in use, the third Puma Rally1 will be led by Gus Greensmith and his new navigator, Jonas Andersson, who has already sailed it at the ACI Rally Monza Italia, the last round of the 2021 World Rally.
In the Principality, home of the WRC 2022 prologue, it will be the British driver who will take part in the event. Loeb will finish the Dakar just 3 days earlier, which is why he will not be deployed at the beginning of the season.
A return, that of Loeb, which causes a sensation. Just 12 months ago, the Alsatian decided not to renew his contract with Hyundai Motorsport after 2 part-time seasons to devote himself exclusively to the new Prodrive project at the Dakar 2021. With the Alzenau team, in 2 seasons, Séb raced 8 rallies of the WRC taking 2 podiums (2 third places in Chile and Turkey), as many fourth places (Monte-Carlo and Catalonia), a sixth, a seventh and an eighth place (respectively in Monte-Carlo, Sweden and Tour de Corse). Only one retirement, arrived at the 2019 Rally of Portugal.
A year later, he appears again in the WRC, this time with M-Sport. The first test at the wheel of the Ford Puma Rally1 took place last October 19 on the asphalt of Catalonia, in a place about 40 kilometers north of Barcelona. It is curious to note how the two most successful drivers of the last 20 years in the WRC – Loeb and Ogier – will compete together in the 2022 season part-time.
With his signing, M-Sport will find himself lining up the strongest driver line up since the 2017 season, when that year he entrusted the two cars to Sébastien Ogier – Julien Ingrassia and Ott Tanak – Martin Jarveoja (both later title winners between that year and the following).
Millener will thus be able to make an interesting choice. Beyond Craig Breen and Adrien Fourmaux, in some races he will be able to join His Majesty Loeb to the first two. In other cases Gus Greensmith, hoping that the latter will continue in the learning process carried out in 2021.
Loeb’s last success in the WRC dates back to 2018, the last season in which he defended the colors of Citroen Racing by winning the RACC Rally of Catalonia thanks to an excellent strategy linked to tires in a race that, at the time, was mixed (first earth, then asphalt). He won at the wheel of the Citroen C3 WRC Plus, before Sébastien Ogier arrived the following year.
M-Sport has renewed Adrien Fourmaux’s contract
M-Sport not only gave the news about Loeb, but also announced that it has held Adrien Fourmaux. It is not yet clear how many rallies the 9-time world champion will be able to do, but the team will certainly be covered in the best possible way having extended the agreement with the 26-year-old Frenchman, revelation of the 2021 World Rally.
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