See you soon 48 years old, Sébastien Loeb is no longer one challenge away. Just a few hours after finishing his sixth Dakar on the second step of the podium, the nine-time World Rally Champion will once again find his heart’s discipline by participating in the 2022 Rallye Monte-Carlo. After endless discussions and a rebounding soap opera during the off-season, it is finally under the colors of M-Sport, the team against which he fought at the height of his career, that he will make another return to the WRC.
Even if this association is ultimately historic, Malcolm Wilson having revealed that he had already approached Loeb in 2005, it can be summed up for the moment in a single appearance on the Rallye Monte-Carlo as confirmed by Richard Millener, the director of the British team.
“Currently it’s just for Monte Carlo. I think we have to see what it’s going to be like. It’s great to have him and it was unexpected. For this year it was impossible to know that this was going to happen. So to be in this position for us is great and it’s thanks to our partnership with Red Bull that we have achieved this.” explains Miller. “It started from a simple discussion with Seb some time ago, and it was a bit of a crazy idea to have him race in Monte-Carlo because he wanted to be at the start. And now we are there.”
In a line-up with 152 WRC starts (68 for Breen, 58 for Greensmith and 26 for Fourmaux), Loeb’s experience is a major asset. With nine world titles and 79 victories, he also has 180 participations in the World Championship since the start of his career, which in a period of development is necessarily a plus.
“Having him with us to help with the development of the car is a good thing. He has an incredible history in rallying, he can certainly tell you if the car is good or not, and the feedback has been positive of his go”, Miller continues. “He knows how to drive sensibly on rallies and get results and that’s what he wants to do. And he loves driving, he wants to ride everywhere. He’s just done 12 days in the Dakar and now he’s going to do five. at Monte-Carlo. It’s a really big challenge for him, but it’s amazing to have him with us.”
Announced as the potential “heir” to pursue French hegemony in the WRC, Adrien Fourmaux will begin his first full campaign in the premier category. Although largely involved in the development work of the Ford Puma Rally1, the young Frenchman welcomes the presence of Loeb at his side to start the season.
“The arrival of Seb in the team was really a good thing because he was able to bring his experience and his feeling”, notes Fourmaux. “I’ve been really lucky to work since the start of the development of the car, so I’ve [accumulé] many miles in the car. It was interesting to see that his feeling was similar to mine. So that was really good for me, because it means I’m not just talking nonsense all the time.”