DATE OF BIRTH:
1974, 26 February
Sébastien Loeb has been used to sporting success all his life, although not all of it through motorsport. Unlike some of his young motorsport peers, the Frenchman’s competitive spirit was honed through gymnastics from an early age, spending 12 years following in the footsteps of his father and racking up four Alsace regional titles as well as finishing fifth in the French championships.
But before long gymnastics would be replaced by the need for speed, a young Sebastien first racing around the streets on mopeds before enrolling in Rallye Jeune, a detection programme for aspiring rally drivers. Despite missing out on the top prize that year, he did meet Dominique Heintz and Rémi Mammoser, two men who would set him on the path to becoming the most successful rally driver in history. For it was their Ambition Sport Auto outfit with whom Loeb would clinch his first success during the Volant 106 championship in 1997, before meeting long-standing co-driver Daniel Elena on the Rallye des Cévennes.
When the Ambition Sport Auto pairing secured the Saxo Kit Car Trophy together in 1999, the French motorsport federation (FFSA) were sufficiently impressed to push for Loeb and Elena’s inclusion in the French Rally team. The three rounds of the WRC that followed proved Loeb’s credentials and although he crashed out in Spain, there were class wins on the Tour de Corse and San Remo. After winning the French Rally championship at the age of 26, the man born in Haguenau was offered a Citroën Xsara Kit Car by Guy Fréquelin for the Rallye du Var, an event he won prompting Fréquelin to hire him for the French Championship. Second overall on the San Remo in 2001 was enough for Citroen to offer a seven-round campaign the following year, during which he claimed his maiden WRC win in Germany, the first of eight consecutive Rally Deutschland victories.
In 2003 Loeb again proved a class act by beating Citroën team-mates, former world champions and genuine rally legends Colin McRae and Carlos Sainz in what was still his first full season. Despite taking three wins, he was forced to settle for second in the championship behind Petter Solberg following Citroën team orders on Rally GB to minimise risks and guarantee the Constructors’ crown. It would prove but a brief disappointment, the following seven seasons being utterly dominated by Loeb who would rack up victory after victory and title after title. On the 2005 Tour de Corse he was fastest on every stage of the rally! Faithful to Citroën, he moved from the Xsara to C4 with the same seamless success, with only Mikko Hirvonen’s spirited 2009 campaign coming close to toppling the Frenchman. Any thoughts his powers might be waning were rebuffed in 2010 with another eight wins, a tally that now stands at 62, 12 podiums from 13 starts and no retirements. In 2011, Loeb stays with Citroën, alongside new teamate Sébastien Ogier.
2012 was a busy year for Sébastien Loeb, who won his ninth consecutive world title by an astonishing 57 points from team-mate Mikko Hirvonen and announced the end of his full-time presence in the WRC. For 2013, Loeb will run a four rally programme (Monte-Carlo, Sweden, Argentina and France), while he runs the full GT Sprint Series in a McLaren GT3, while he prepares for a possible switch, with Citroen, to the WTCC in 2014
WHAT MOTORS TV SAYS
2013 is thus a transition year for Loeb who will run just four rounds of the WRC, while taking on a new challenge in the Sprint GT Series, while awaiting the green light from Citroen to do the 2014 WTCC. Just recently he has also expressed his desire to try his luck on the Dakar some day.
We will closely follow the nine-time world champions partial rally schedule. The native of Alsace will still be the man to beat on the Monte-Carlo and could also beat the northern Europeans on the snow in Sweden. But how will he do when he comes back later in the year for Argentina ad his home rally? One of the sub plots to the opening round of the year will be his confrontation with former team-mate Sébastien Ogier, who will finally get to show the potential of the VW Polo R WRC.
With nine wins and 10 podium results in 2012, Loeb proved, yet again, that he is the greatest rally driver of all time. And all his rivals are relieved that he will no longer spearhead the Citroen attack, something he has done, with unmatched success, since 2004.
Latest News WRC
3 and counting for Ogier - 15/04 - 07:12
Oh my, Ogier ! - 11/03 - 08:00
Q and A with Sébastien Ogier - 06/03 - 09:35
Hyundai reveals upgrades to 2014 WRC entry - 06/03 - 09:05
Seven rounds for Kubica in WRC2 - 04/03 - 10:37
No broadcasting coming next.
International broadcast - (click for UK broadcast)
No broadcasting coming next.
UK broadcast - (click for International Broadcast)
Rallye de France
Rally de España
Rally of Great Britain