Sébastien Loeb

Last updated

Sébastien Loeb
Sebastien Loeb 2014 WTCC Race of Japan.jpg
Nationality Flag of France.svg French
Born (1974-02-26) 26 February 1974 (age 47)
Haguenau, France
Extreme E career
Debut season 2021
Current team Team X44
Car number44
Starts2
Wins0
Podiums1
Previous series
20162018
20142015
2013
2013
2011–2012
2010
2008–2009
2008–13
World Rallycross Championship
WTCC
Porsche Supercup
FIA GT Series
Porsche Carrera Cup France
International GT Open
Porsche Carrera Cup France
French GT Championship
World Rally Championship record
Active years 19992013, 2015, 20182020
Co-driver Flag of Monaco.svg Daniel Elena
Teams Citroën, Kronos Citroën, Hyundai
Rallies180
Championships 9 (2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012)
Rally wins 79
Podiums119
Stage wins925
Total points1727
First rally1999 Rally Catalunya
First win2002 Rallye Deutschland
Last win 2018 Rally Catalunya
Last rally 2020 Rally Turkey
24 Hours of Le Mans career
Years2005–2006
Teams Pescarolo Sport
Best finish2nd (2006)
Class wins0
FIA World Rallycross Championship career
Years active 20162018
Teams Team Peugeot-Hansen
Car number9
Starts36
Wins2
Podiums17
Finished last season4th
Medal record

Sébastien Loeb (French pronunciation:  [sebastjɛ̃ lœb] ; born 26 February 1974) is a French professional rally, racing, and rallycross driver. He competed for the Citroën World Rally Team in the World Rally Championship (WRC) and is the most successful driver in WRC history, having won the world championship a record 9 times in a row. He holds several other WRC records, including most event wins, most podium finishes and most stage wins. Loeb announced his retirement from World Rallying at the end of the 2012 season. Participating in selected events in the 2013 WRC season, he raced a full season in the FIA GT Series driving a McLaren MP4-12C before moving on with Citroën to the FIA World Touring Car Championship in 2014. In the 2018 season he is one of the official drivers of the Team Peugeot Total. [1]

Contents

Originally a gymnast, Loeb switched to rallying in 1995 and won the Junior World Rally Championship in 2001. Signed by the Citroën factory team for the 2002 season, he and co-driver Daniel Elena took their maiden WRC win that same year at the Rallye Deutschland. After finishing runner-up to Petter Solberg by one point in 2003, Loeb took his first drivers' title in 2004. Continuing with Citroën, he went on to take a record ninth consecutive world title in 2012. Loeb is a tarmac expert, having won all but three of the WRC rallies on that surface in which he has participated between 2005 and 2013.

Besides his success in rallying, Loeb is a three-time winner at the Race of Champions, after taking home the Henri Toivonen Memorial Trophy and the title "Champion of Champions" in 2003, 2005 and 2008. In 2004, he won the Nations' Cup for France with Jean Alesi. In 2006, he finished second in the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Loeb was named the French Sportsman of the Year in 2007 and 2009, and made knight of the Legion of Honour (Légion d'honneur) in 2009. In 2012, he won the rallycross final in his first appearance at X Games XVIII. In 2018, Loeb won the Spanish round of that year's World Rally Championship, in a rare entry six years after his retirement as a full-time rally driver.

Career

Rallying

Early career

Loeb and Elena at the 2001 Rally Finland Loeb elena.jpg
Loeb and Elena at the 2001 Rally Finland

Loeb was born in Haguenau, Alsace, France, the only child of Guy and Ingrid Loeb (who died in 2005 and 2012, respectively) [2] and grew up in Oberhoffen-sur-Moder. He competed as gymnast and became a four-time Alsatian champion, once champion of the French Grand East, and fifth in the French championship. [3] He broke off school in 1992 but resumed taking classes in 1994, aiming at vocational training in electrical engineering. On 12 September 1994, in parallel with his classes, he started working as an electrician at the Socalec company near Haguenau Airport, where he was the oldest apprentice and already noted for his daring/reckless driving style. On this level, he could count on the understanding of his boss, who was himself fascinated by speed and owned a Ferrari Testarossa 512 TR. [4]

In 1995, at age 21, he quit his job and classes and definitively turned his attention to racing. In 1998, he started entering events in the French Citroën Saxo Trophy series, winning the title in 1999. Guy Fréquelin, Citroën Sport's team principal, would serve as Loeb's mentor as he entered the Junior World Rally Championship in 2001, becoming the series' first champion by winning five of the six events. The only event he didn't win this year was Rallye Sanremo: for this event, he was elected as a driver for the WRC championship, driving a Citroën Xsara WRC alongside Philippe Bugalski and Jesús Puras. In only his third rally with a World Rally Car, he surprisingly hounded Peugeot tarmac specialist and eventual victor Gilles Panizzi to the finish, and ended up second.

2002–03

Loeb during Citroen's testing in Finland in May 2002 Citroen WRT testing in Finland in 2002 07.jpg
Loeb during Citroën's testing in Finland in May 2002

The 2002 season was Loeb's first as a WRC driver with the Citroën Total World Rally Team, although the team only participated in seven rounds in the build-up to their full entry the following year. Loeb started the season by provisionally winning the Monte Carlo Rally, after racing under appeal due to a two-minute time penalty incurred by an illegal tyre change during the second day. Citroën considered the penalty too severe but later withdrew the appeal, and Subaru's Tommi Mäkinen then took a record fourth consecutive Monte Carlo win. Loeb later took his maiden victory at the Rallye Deutschland in Germany, edging out Peugeot's Richard Burns.

In 2003, his first full season in the championship, Loeb won three WRC events, Monte Carlo, Germany and Sanremo, before losing to Petter Solberg in the Wales Rally Great Britain, also losing the championship to him by just one point. Loeb was asked by his team not to chase Solberg at all costs so that he didn't jeopardise Citroën's lead in the constructors' championship. Loeb's reputation grew as he defeated his more illustrious teammates Carlos Sainz and Colin McRae  – over the course of the season. At the end of the year, he earned the title "Champion of Champions" by beating Marcus Grönholm in the final of the Race of Champions.

2004

Loeb at the 2004 Cyprus Rally Sebastien Loeb - 2004 Cyprus Rally.jpg
Loeb at the 2004 Cyprus Rally

In the 2004 season, Loeb dominated the WRC scene in a similar way to Michael Schumacher's domination of Formula One the same year, by winning six events and taking six runner-up spots to securely give him the drivers' title, 36 points clear of second-placed Solberg. His six WRC victories tied the record for victories in one season with fellow Frenchman Didier Auriol, who won six events in 1992. He was also responsible for Citroën's second manufacturers' title in a row.

Originally known as a tarmac specialist, 2004 was the year Loeb proved himself capable of winning on other surfaces as well. He won the snow-based Swedish Rally, becoming the first non-Nordic to win the event. On gravel, he triumphed in the Cyprus Rally, Rally of Turkey and the Rally Australia. On tarmac, he continued his success in Monte Carlo and Germany.

2005

Loeb at the 2005 Cyprus Rally Sebastien Loeb - 2005 Cyprus Rally 2.jpg
Loeb at the 2005 Cyprus Rally

In 2005, with victory in the ninth round in Argentina, Loeb became the first to win six consecutive rallies, beating Timo Salonen's record of four from 1985. Having already won the season-opening Rallye Automobile Monte Carlo, he also became the first to win seven in a season, beating his (and Didier Auriol's) own record of six wins in a season. Loeb was in a position to clinch the title while leading the Wales Rally Great Britain, but after it was announced that the last two stages of the rally would be abandoned due to the death of Markko Märtin's co-driver Michael Park in an accident on stage 15, Loeb deliberately incurred a two-minute penalty to drop him to third place and avoid retaining his title in such circumstances. He went on to secure the title by finishing second to Peugeot's Marcus Grönholm at the next rally in Japan.

Loeb eventually extended his win record to ten and won the title with a 56-point margin, breaking a 25-year-old record; Walter Röhrl's margin over Hannu Mikkola in 1980 was 54. Loeb set several other records during the season as well. He won all twelve stages in the 2005 Tour de Corse in France, which marked the first time a driver had won every stage of a WRC rally. Loeb's twelve podium and thirteen points-scoring finishes in a row were also new records in the series.

In the Race of Champions, after being surprised by the young event rookie Heikki Kovalainen last year, he beat Tom Kristensen in the final to claim his second title.

2006

Loeb at the 2006 Rally Japan Citroen Xsara WRC05.JPG
Loeb at the 2006 Rally Japan

Citroën's parent company, PSA Peugeot Citroën, pulled both manufacturers out of the WRC at the end of 2005, but Citroën planned to return in 2007 with the C4 WRC, and developed the car during 2006. Loeb was closely involved with this as he was guaranteed the leading role in the team at the comeback. In the meantime, a 'gap year' beckoned in the privateer ranks, namely with Citroën-sponsored Kronos Racing entered as the Kronos Total Citroën World Rally Team.

In order to score on the first round in Monte Carlo, Loeb was initially forced to activate the SupeRally rules for retiring competitors, having spun off the road on day one. Although he did manage to fight his way back to second place, it was the first time he had ever been beaten to the finish (namely by fellow double world champion Marcus Grönholm) on these roads in the Xsara WRC. This outcome was mirrored on the following month's Swedish Rally, with Grönholm again the man to whom Loeb was forced to give best, placing the duo in an early runaway 1–2 position in the points standings.

Loeb on a road section during the 2006 Rally Finland Loeb.jpg
Loeb on a road section during the 2006 Rally Finland

But the Frenchman's bridesmaid status was not to last, and racking up a triumph on the ensuing Rally Mexico  – the first of five on the trot that season – propelled him into a championship lead he was never to lose. He tied Carlos Sainz's record number of 26 individual rally victories in August with a fifth consecutive victory in Germany. With his subsequent victory in Japan, the world record of 27 victories and counting eventually became his. His victory in Cyprus put him on the verge of a third consecutive World Rally Championship title.

Shortly after, Loeb broke his right humerus in a mountain-biking accident near his home in Switzerland, causing him to miss the last four rallies of the season (Turkey, Australia, New Zealand and Wales). In spite of this, Loeb had accumulated such a huge point lead before Turkey that Marcus Grönholm's failure to finish third or better in Australia handed Loeb the 2006 championship crown by one point. He received the news at home via an Internet video link to the rally HQ. Due to the time difference, he made do with early morning coffee instead of the customary champagne, calling the whole experience "strange".

2007

Loeb at the 2007 Rally Catalunya Sebastien Loeb - 2007 Rally Catalunya.jpg
Loeb at the 2007 Rally Catalunya

For 2007, Loeb returned as an official Citroën driver, with the new Citroën C4 WRC. He won the 75ème Rallye Automobile de Monte-Carlo, the first race for the new C4, following that with a solid second place after Grönholm, in Sweden, to set a two-point lead over the Finn after two of 16 rounds. At the first Rally Norway, Loeb went off and lost eight minutes during SS12 while chasing Grönholm and the leader, Mikko Hirvonen. On the next stage, he made another mistake and lost nine minutes. He eventually finished 14th in the rally and dropped to third in the championship standings. He won 8 of the 18 stages in this rally. Loeb won the next rally, the 21º Corona Rally México, 55.8 seconds clear of Grönholm.

He then followed this success with his third and fourth season victories on the Portuguese and Argentinian rallies. Characteristically, he was once more to be found in the lead on the seventh round, the Rally d'Italia in Sardinia. On new stages on the final leg to those of the previous year, however, Loeb was once more to lament error and the surrender of probable victory, this time after crashing and breaking his car's suspension in a ditch. He left the lead in the hands of Grönholm, who won to propel himself seven points ahead of Loeb at the top of the championship standings. A second loss to the Finn in as many years on the Acropolis Rally then extended the deficit to nine points over the championship's summer break.

Loeb occupied his recess by, amongst other engagements, competing in the Shell Donegal International Rally on 15, 16 and 17 June, partially as preparation for the coming Rally Ireland World Championship round that November. He scored a comprehensive victory, albeit only after being given a scare by the pace of tenacious private Subaru-driver Mark Higgins, who had a 45-second lead at the end of day one. Punctures afflicted upon his rival eventually settled the contest.

Ambitions of finally scoring victory on Rally Finland proved once more unrealised, with Loeb relegated to third place behind the pacy natives Grönholm and Hirvonen. Rallye Deutschland, as was traditional, differed somewhat. At the scene of his first victory and on a rally where he had never subsequently lost, Loeb was left unexpectedly to fend off the challenge not of the Finn, but of a privateer, his one-time teammate and championship returnee François Duval. He eventually triumphed and reduced some of his championship points deficit.

Loeb at the 2007 Wales Rally GB Sebastien Loeb-2007 Wales Rally GB 001.jpg
Loeb at the 2007 Wales Rally GB

A very close battle on the gravel stages of Rally New Zealand ended with the second closest win in WRC history – Loeb finished only 0.3s behind his main rival. The next two rounds allowed the French driver to regain some points, as he won both tarmac events – Rallye Espana, where his teammate Dani Sordo took second place and two points from Grönholm, and Rally France.

Rally Japan was another dramatic event – Loeb got the chance to take the lead in the Championship after Grönholm's early mistake, [5] but he was unable to, as his co-driver's mistake caused the C4 to go off the road on one of the stages of second leg. Both drivers ended with no points after finally retiring from the event. [6] In Ireland, during 1st Rally Ireland almost the same happened – Marcus Grönholm overcooked a slippery right corner on one of the early stages, trying to keep a fast pace, and had to retire from the rally. Loeb made use of his rival's mistake and, by making no major mistakes, although having some suspension-related problems with keeping pace at the beginning, [7] he added 10 points to his account, moving ahead of the Finnish driver just one round before the season's end. In Wales he was not fighting for the win, focusing mostly on securing his advantage, finishing the event third – on 2 December 2007 Loeb became World Rally Champion for the fourth time in a row. [8]

2008

Loeb with his C4 WRC at the 2008 Monte Carlo Rally Loeb-rmc2008.jpg
Loeb with his C4 WRC at the 2008 Monte Carlo Rally

Loeb started the 2008 season with a record fifth win in Monte Carlo. [9] On the second rally of the year, 2008 Swedish Rally, he crashed out during day one. Although he re-joined the rally to collect manufacturers' points, the team later decided to retire him due to a damaged engine. After winning in Mexico and Argentina, Loeb had a crash with Conrad Rautenbach on a road section in Jordan, from which he could only recover to take tenth place in the rally. He went on to win two events, and then finish close third to the Ford factory team duo Mikko Hirvonen and Jari-Matti Latvala at the Rally of Turkey.

Loeb later notably won the Rally Finland ahead of Hirvonen. This was the fourth time in the event's 58-year history that a non-Nordic driver won the rally, after Carlos Sainz in 1990, Didier Auriol in 1992 and Markko Märtin in 2003. This started a string of five victories for Loeb. In Germany, New Zealand and Spain, Citroën also took double wins as his teammate Dani Sordo took three runner-up spots in a row.

Loeb during the 2008 Rally Argentina MG 2752 (3472x2259) (2940x1913) (300dpi).jpg
Loeb during the 2008 Rally Argentina

Going into the penultimate round of the season, the 2008 Rally Japan, Loeb led Hirvonen by 14 points and needed a third place to secure the world drivers' title. Finishing behind Ford's Hirvonen and Latvala, Loeb broke Juha Kankkunen's, Tommi Mäkinen's and his own record of four titles and became the first five-time world champion in rallying. [10]

After clinching the World Rally Championship, Loeb edged out Latvala to take his first Wales Rally GB win, a feat which also helped secure his team their first manufacturers' title since 2005, from 2006 and 2007 victors Ford. In December, Loeb won the individual 2008 Race of Champions, becoming the second driver after compatriot Auriol to win the event more than twice.

2009

Loeb during the shakedown in Cyprus Sebastien Loeb - 2009 Cyprus Rally.jpg
Loeb during the shakedown in Cyprus

Loeb started the year by winning Rally Ireland for the second time since 2007. He then won his first Rally Norway ever, after a fierce battle with Mikko Hirvonen, lasting throughout the very final stage. Being first on the road through all three days, Loeb kept his lead, in the end winning with 9.8 seconds over Hirvonen. Loeb continued his good form by winning over Hirvonen in Cyprus, marking his career 50th victory, and in Portugal. His victory in Argentina, the fifth in a row in this country, was also his fifth victory in a row since the start of the season.

At the Rally d'Italia Sardegna, Loeb had a puncture after going off the road and dropped from third to fourth. [11] Although he passed Petter Solberg for the final podium spot, he still finished fourth due to a time penalty for a safety rule violation; co-driver Daniel Elena had unfastened his safety belts before the crew stopped the car for a tyre change. [12] At the Acropolis Rally, Loeb crashed out from third place. [13] On Rally Poland's return to the WRC, Loeb had another crash but he continued in the event under superally rules. After team orders issued for the Citroën Junior Team drivers and a late mistake by Ford's Jari-Matti Latvala, Loeb found himself seventh but had lost the championship lead to Hirvonen by one point. [14]

By winning the Rally Catalunya, Loeb reduced the deficit to Hirvonen in the title race before the final event of the year; once again trailing by a single point. [15] The Frenchman gained the championship by winning the final event of the year, the Rally GB. Victory was secured partly due to an incredible performance over SS8 and SS9, where in the course of only two stages Loeb extended his lead in the rally over Hirvonen from 2.4s to 25s. [16] [17]

2010

Loeb in Sofia before the 2010 Rally Bulgaria Sebastien loeb, sofia, 2010.JPG
Loeb in Sofia before the 2010 Rally Bulgaria

The 2010 WRC season started with the snow-based Swedish Rally, where Loeb finished second behind Ford's Mikko Hirvonen. He went on to take a clear championship lead by winning the following three gravel events: Rally México, Jordan Rally and Rally of Turkey. In New Zealand, Loeb finished third in a tight battle that saw the top five finish within 26 seconds of each other. In Portugal, Loeb narrowly lost the win to his countryman Sébastien Ogier of the Citroën Junior Team, who took his debut win in the World Rally Championship. In the following Rally Bulgaria, a new event in the series and the season's first tarmac rally, Loeb won while Citroën scored the WRC's first 1–2–3–4 in seventeen years. [18]

At the 60th Rally Finland, Loeb beat Citroën privateer Petter Solberg to the final podium position, behind Ford's Jari-Matti Latvala and Ogier. He went on to win the Rallye Deutschland for the eighth time in a row, marking the first time a driver has won a WRC rally eight times. [19] After a fifth place in Japan, Loeb secured a record-extending seventh consecutive World Rally Championship title by winning his home event, the Rallye de France. As the Rallye de France–Alsace had replaced the Tour de Corse as the French round of the WRC, Loeb ended up clinching the title on a final stage that was held in his home town of Haguenau, Alsace. [20] [21] [22] Loeb later took part in the Race of Champions, driving for Team France alongside four-time Formula One World Champion Alain Prost. In the individual event, he made it to the final for the seventh time but lost to surprise winner Filipe Albuquerque.

During the course of the season, he was on the podium of all events but one (Japan where he finished fifth), and ended up the season with a record 105 points over runner-up Jari-Matti Latvala.

2011

Loeb at the 2011 Rally de Portugal Loeb 2011 WRC Portugal.jpg
Loeb at the 2011 Rally de Portugal

The 2011 season brought a new generation of World Rally Cars. Now at the wheel of a Citroën DS3 WRC, Loeb started his year by finishing sixth at the Rally Sweden. He went on to win in Mexico for the fifth time in row, after teammate Sébastien Ogier crashed out from a narrow lead. [23] In Portugal, Loeb finished second to Ogier and took his first Power Stage win, collecting three more points from the final stage. [24] At the Jordan Rally, held during the Arab Spring, the entire first day was cancelled. Loeb placed third behind the closest-ever finish in the history of the World Rally Championship. [25] He then beat Ford's Mikko Hirvonen to the win at the Rally d'Italia Sardegna.

In Argentina, Loeb won after a tight three-way battle, taking the lead from Ogier on the final stage and finishing 2.4 seconds ahead of Hirvonen. [26] At the next event, the Acropolis Rally in Greece, Loeb had to settle for second behind Ogier. In the high-speed Rally Finland, he beat Jari-Matti Latvala to become the first non-Nordic driver to win twice in the event's 60-year history. [27] In August, Loeb signed a two-year contract extension with Citroën. [28] At the Rallye Deutschland, Loeb held a close lead ahead of Ogier after the first day and Citroën decided to freeze the situation. A puncture later dropped Loeb out of contention and he finished behind his teammate. This ended his record win streak in Germany and was the first time that he had lost in a tarmac-based event since the 2006 Monte Carlo Rally. Tension in the team grew; David Evans of Autosport wrote that "it's war between the two Sebs". [29]

Loeb at the Acropolis Rally Acr2011 550.jpg
Loeb at the Acropolis Rally

Before Australia, Loeb held a 25-point lead in the championship ahead of Ogier. During the first day of the rally, both Sébastiens crashed out. Loeb later gained a point by climbing to tenth place after Citroën ordered Ogier to slow down. [30] In his home event, the Rallye de France, Loeb took the lead from the start but soon fell victim to a rare engine failure in his DS3 WRC and had to retire. As Ogier beat Mini's Dani Sordo to the win, Loeb now tied the lead in the championship with Hirvonen, and Ogier was only three points adrift. At the Rally Catalunya, Loeb took his fifth win of the season and broke Markku Alén's record (801) for most stage wins in the world championship. [31] He carried an eight-point lead over Hirvonen into the season-ending Wales Rally GB. Loeb took the rally lead from Latvala on the third stage, but lost it to Hirvonen by 0.4 seconds on stage six. However, Hirvonen soon went wide, spun and broke his radiator, which in turn caused severe engine problems. As Hirvonen was unable to restart, Loeb secured his eighth consecutive world championship. This title moved him ahead of seven-time champion Michael Schumacher in terms of major motorsport championships won. [32] While running in second place behind Latvala, Loeb retired from the rally due to a road section collision with a spectator who had driven his car on the wrong side of a narrow road. [33] [34]

2012

Loeb at the 2012 Monte Carlo Rally Loeb elena Monte Carlo 2012.jpg
Loeb at the 2012 Monte Carlo Rally

Loeb began his 2012 season by beating Mini's Dani Sordo to a record sixth win in the Monte Carlo Rally. He also secured the maximum points by recording the fastest time for the power stage. [35] In Sweden, after hitting a snowbank on stage seven, Loeb was forced out of the fight for the number one spot. He finished sixth and gained three extra points by again winning the power stage. [36] Loeb took his second victory of the season at the Rally Mexico, ahead of his new teammate Mikko Hirvonen. [37] In Portugal, he crashed out from third place on the night stages of the first day, after misunderstanding a pacenote. [38] The Rally Argentina was dominated by the Citroëns and Loeb drove to his 70th WRC victory. [39] At the Acropolis Rally in Greece, he cruised to an easy win after Ford's Jari-Matti Latvala and Petter Solberg ran into several problems and dropped out of contention. [40]

He went on to continue his WRC win streak in New Zealand and in Finland, where he edged out Hirvonen to take his third win in the event. [41] This marked the fourth double win in a row for the Citroën duo. After beating Latvala to the win in Germany, Loeb finished second to the Finn at the Wales Rally GB, after a tight battle for the position with Solberg. [42]

In late September, Loeb announced his retirement from full-time rallying, stating that he would compete only in selected events during the upcoming season. He added that he is interested in taking on a new challenge such as the World Touring Car Championship. [43] In his home event, the Rallye de France, Loeb built a cushion over Latvala and title rival Hirvonen on the first two days. He then held Latvala at bay on the wet roads on Sunday, securing a record ninth drivers' title in the World Rally Championship and aiding Citroën to its eighth manufacturers' title. [44] German magazine Auto Bild noted that Loeb was now two world championship titles clear of Schumacher and equal to Valentino Rossi, and dubbed him "the best rally driver of all time and a shining light in motorsport." [45] Former world champion Ari Vatanen opined that Loeb's records are unlikely to be broken. [46]

2013

WRC

Loeb competed in five rallies of the 2013 season: Monte Carlo, Sweden, Argentina, Germany and France. [47] He started his partial WRC season with a win in Monte Carlo, [48] and finished last to Sébastien Ogier in Sweden, followed by another win in Argentina. Ahead of his home rally in France, it has been speculated it could be his WRC swansong. [49] [50] It was confirmed on 1 October 2013 as Loeb will continue racing for Citroen, this time for World Touring Car Championship. [51] [52] However, Loeb crashed out on the first stage of day three. The rally was eventually won by Sebastien Ogier. [53]

Other ventures
Loeb at the Goodwood Festival of Speed Peugeot 208 T16 - Gregory Gilvert.jpg
Loeb at the Goodwood Festival of Speed

In April 2013, Loeb tested a Peugeot 208 T16 at Mont Ventoux. [54] Loosely based on the shape and design of the production 208, the T16 is a lightweight 875 kg (1,929 lb) vehicle that uses the rear wing from the Peugeot 908, and has a 3.2-litre, twin-turbo V6 engine, developing 875 bhp (652 kW; 887 PS) with the aim of competing at the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb. [55] Loeb won the event with a time of 8:13.878, smashing the previous record by a minute and a half.

2017

At the 2017 Silk Way Rally Loeb had to abandon due to a finger injury which he had sustained in stage 9. He had been leading the overall standings up to that point. [56]

Racing

World Touring Car Championship

Loeb driving the Citroen C-Elysee WTCC at the 2014 Race of Japan. Sebastien Loeb 2014 WTCC Race of Japan (Race 1).jpg
Loeb driving the Citroën C-Elysée WTCC at the 2014 Race of Japan.

In June 2013 it was confirmed that Citroën were to enter the FIA World Touring Car Championship in 2014 with Loeb driving one of the factory supported cars built for new to 2014 regulations. [57] He is partnered by (as of 2013) 4-time WTCC champion, 10-time ice racing champion and fellow Frenchman Yvan Muller, [58] José María López and Ma Qing Hua. In his first full season in circuit racing, Loeb won two races and scored six podiums on his way to third in the championship behind surprise champion Lopez and runner-up Muller.

Le Mans and sports cars

As his WRC stature grew, Loeb began to participate in road racing events and tests. He first competed in the 24 Hours of Le Mans sports car race in 2005, where he drove for the Pescarolo Sport team's No. 17 entry. Reportedly Loeb did much of his preparation for the race by running practice laps around the circuit in the Sony PlayStation 2 video game Gran Turismo 4 aboard a private jet. [59] In the race the car was plagued by incidents, but Loeb proved to be able to drive fast for his first race on a closed track. Loeb finished second overall in the 2006 24 Hours of Le Mans in a Pescarolo-Judd, between the two Diesel-powered Audi R10.

Free time in his WRC schedule allows him to race in the French GT Championship (FFSA GT) where he drove a Ferrari 550 Prodrive and a Porsche 911 GT3-RSR as well as in the French Carrera Cup where he achieved top-10 finishes. For 2012 Loeb launched Sébastien Loeb Racing which competes in FFSA GT and the European Le Mans Series. Loeb drove for his own team at the Circuit de Pau in the French Carrera Cup and won the race. [60]

X Games

In July 2012, Loeb debuted in the X Games in Los Angeles (X Games XVIII), facing his old rival Marcus Grönholm. Grönholm was hospitalised due to an accident in practice, and Loeb won the rallycross category gold medal well ahead of Ken Block, who was hampered for half the way to the Finish line by a puncture. [61]

Formula One

Loeb has had a number of Formula One tests. He first tested for Renault F1 at Paul Ricard in December 2007, in a switch that saw Heikki Kovalainen test Loeb's WRC car. [62] Red Bull, which became a major sponsor of the Citroën factory team during the 2008 season, rewarded Loeb for winning the WRC with a Formula One test in Red Bull Racing's 2008-spec Red Bull RB4. He first drove the car at Silverstone, and then took part in the first official Formula One winter test in Barcelona. [63] Loeb was eighth quickest of 17 drivers. [64]

Loeb continued to set his sights on a switch to Formula One in 2009. Following stories that fellow Frenchman Sébastien Bourdais was under threat at Toro Rosso, [65] Loeb told French newspaper L'Équipe that he was interested in replacing Bourdais at the Red Bull-backed team. [66] He intended to make his F1 debut at the 2009 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix which took place in November, after the WRC season finished, with a view to making the switch full-time for 2010. [67] However, this plan was scuppered when he was not granted an FIA Super Licence, rendering him ineligible to race in F1 for the foreseeable future as he had not done enough circuit racing at lower levels. [68] He had also been in contact with the US F1 Team about a possible drive for 2010. [69]

Loeb has also taken part in an official GP2 Series testing session after the 2009 season, where he drove for the David Price Racing team, finishing last of 25 drivers.

FIA GT Series and Porsche Supercup

Loeb participated in the 2013 FIA GT Series season, driving for Sébastien Loeb Racing which entered two McLaren MP4-12C cars. Loeb paired up with Portuguese driver Álvaro Parente in one of the cars while Frenchman Mike Parisy and Austrian Andreas Zuber were the driver pairing for the other Sébastien Loeb Racing car. [70] Loeb and Parente took a total of three qualifying race wins and one championship race win on their way to fourth place overall in the season. A number of reliability issues and racing incidents prevented the pair from scoring more victories.

Loeb also participated in two races of the 2013 Porsche Supercup season at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya and Circuit de Monaco circuits, both events being held as support category races for the 2013 Formula One season. Loeb finished 11th in Spain and 16th in Monaco. [71]

FIA World Rallycross Championship

On 29 February 2016 it was officially revealed that Loeb is going to join the factory backed Swedish Team Peugeot-Hansen to participate in all 12 rounds of the 2016 FIA World Rallycross Championship, together with his Swedish teammate Timmy Hansen. [72] On 2 October, Loeb took his maiden victory in the Latvian round of the world championship. [73] [74] With four podiums and six top fives, he finished fifth in the Supercar class drivers standings.

Personal life

Loeb and co-driver Elena in 2008 Loeb and Elena - 2008 Rallye Deutschland.jpg
Loeb and co-driver Elena in 2008

Loeb is married to Séverine, who runs the Loeb Events hospitality area during most rallies and also often replaces Daniel Elena as co-driver for non-championship races. [75] The couple have a daughter Valentine, and the family reside near Lausanne, Switzerland. [76]

Loeb was made knight of the Légion d'honneur on 27 May 2009, by French president Nicolas Sarkozy. [77] Loeb is a member of the "Champions for Peace" club, a group of 54 elite athletes committed to serving peace in the world through sport, created by Peace and Sport, a Monaco-based international organisation. [78]

Loeb provided technical input to the off-road sections of the video game Gran Turismo 5 , and in 2016, Milestone released the game Sébastien Loeb Rally Evo . In 2016, Loeb also played as a celebrity contestant in the French game show Fort Boyard . [79]

WRC victories

Loeb provisionally won the Monte Carlo event in 2002 but was later docked two minutes for an illegal tyre change and demoted to second place. He also provisionally won the 2009 Rally Australia, but was penalised one minute to second place as his car was fitted with a non-regulation part. [80]

Loeb's win at the 2010 Rallye Deutschland was his eighth victory in a row there, marking a record for consecutive wins in a WRC event. He was the only driver to win the rally from its 2002 introduction to the WRC calendar, until 2011, when he was second and Sébastien Ogier won. Loeb was the first non-Nordic rally driver to win Rally Sweden (in 2004).

Racing record

Career summary

SeasonSeriesTeamRacesWinsPolesF/LapsPodiumsPointsPosition
1999 World Rally Championship Equipe de France FFSA300000NC
2000 World Rally Championship Sébastien Loeb Racing 200000NC
Equipe de France FFSA200000
2001 World Rally Championship Sébastien Loeb Racing 70000014th
Automobiles Citroën 100016
Junior World Rally Championship Sébastien Loeb Racing 55005501st
2002 World Rally Championship Automobiles Citroën 810021810th
Piedrafita Sport100000
2003 World Rally Championship Citroën Total 143007712nd
2004 World Rally Championship Citroën Total 16600121181st
2005 World Rally Championship Citroën Total 161000131271st
24 Hours of Le Mans Pescarolo Sport 10000N/ANC
2006 World Rally Championship Kronos Total Citroën WRT 12800121121st
24 Hours of Le Mans Pescarolo Sport 10001N/A2nd
2007 World Rally Championship Citroën Total WRT 16800131161st
2008 World Rally Championship Citroën Total WRT 151100131221st
2009 World Rally Championship Citroën Total WRT 127009931st
2010 World Rally Championship Citroën Total WRT 13800122761st
2011 World Rally Championship Citroën Total WRT 1350092221st
2012 World Rally Championship Citroën Total WRT 13900102701st
Global RallyCross Championship Hansen Motorsport 110012117th
2013 FIA GT Series Sébastien Loeb Racing 124435824th
Porsche Supercup Porsche 200000NC
World Rally Championship Citroën Total Abu Dhabi WRT 42003688th
FIA European Rallycross Championship Hervé Lemonnier 100001127th
2014 World Touring Car Championship Citroën WTCC 2320282953rd
2014–15 Andros Trophy Santéloc Racing 20000N/AN/A
2015 World Touring Car Championship Citroën WTCC 24415123653rd
World Rally Championship Citroën Total Abu Dhabi WRT 10000618th
Porsche Supercup Sébastien Loeb Racing 200000NC
2016 FIA World Rallycross Championship Team Peugeot-Hansen 1210042095th
Dakar Rally Peugeot 10000N/A9th
2017 FIA World Rallycross Championship Team Peugeot-Hansen 1200062144th
Dakar Rally Peugeot 10001N/A2nd
2018 FIA World Rallycross Championship Sébastien Loeb Racing 1210072294th
World Rally Championship Citroën Total Abu Dhabi WRT 310014313th
Dakar Rally Peugeot 10000N/ADNF
2018–19 Andros Trophy Exagon Engineering 10111N/AN/A
2019 World Rally Championship Hyundai Shell Mobis WRT 600015111th
Dakar Rally Peugeot 10001N/A3rd
2019–20 Andros Trophy – Elite Pro Class Sébastien Loeb Racing 3011216313th
2020 World Rally Championship Hyundai Shell Mobis WRT 200012410th
2020–21 Andros Trophy – Elite Pro Class Sébastien Loeb Racing 3001011115th
2021 Extreme E Team X44 40203572nd*
Dakar Rally BRX 10000N/ADNF

* Season still in progress.

Complete WRC results

(key)

YearEntrantCar12345678910111213141516WDCPoints
1999 Equipe de France FFSA Citroën Saxo Kit Car MON SWE KEN POR ESP
Ret
FRA
19
ARG GRE NZL FIN CHN ITA
21
AUS GBR NC0
2000 Sébastien Loeb Citroën Saxo Kit Car MON SWE KEN POR ESP ARG GRE NZL FIN
Ret
CYP GBR
38
NC0
Equipe de France FFSA Toyota Corolla WRC FRA
9
ITA
10
AUS
2001 Sébastien Loeb Citroën Saxo Kit Car MON
15
SWE
Ret
POR 14th6
Citroën Saxo VTS S1600 ESP
15
ARG CYP GRE
19
KEN FIN
28
NZL FRA
13
AUS GBR
15
Automobiles Citroën Citroën Xsara WRC ITA
2
2002 Automobiles Citroën Citroën Xsara WRC MON
2
SWE
17
FRA ESP
Ret
CYP ARG GRE
7
KEN
5
FIN
10
GER
1
ITA NZL GBR
Ret
10th18
Piedrafita Sport AUS
7
2003 Citroën Total Citroën Xsara WRC MON
1
SWE
7
TUR
Ret
NZL
4
ARG
Ret
GRE
Ret
CYP
3
GER
1
FIN
5
AUS
2
ITA
1
FRA
13
ESP
2
GBR
2
2nd71
2004 Citroën Total Citroën Xsara WRC MON
1
SWE
1
MEX
Ret
NZL
4
CYP
1
GRE
2
TUR
1
ARG
2
FIN
4
GER
1
JPN
2
GBR
2
ITA
2
FRA
2
ESP
Ret
AUS
1
1st118
2005 Citroën Total Citroën Xsara WRC MON
1
SWE
Ret
MEX
4
NZL
1
ITA
1
CYP
1
TUR
1
GRE
1
ARG
1
FIN
2
GER
1
GBR
3
JPN
2
FRA
1
ESP
1
AUS
Ret
1st127
2006 Kronos Total Citroën WRT Citroën Xsara WRC MON
2
SWE
2
MEX
1
ESP
1
FRA
1
ARG
1
ITA
1
GRE
2
GER
1
FIN
2
JPN
1
CYP
1
TUR AUS NZL GBR 1st112
2007 Citroën Total WRT Citroën C4 WRC MON
1
SWE
2
NOR
14
MEX
1
POR
1
ARG
1
ITA
Ret
GRE
2
FIN
3
GER
1
NZL
2
ESP
1
FRA
1
JPN
Ret
IRE
1
GBR
3
1st116
2008 Citroën Total WRT Citroën C4 WRC MON
1
SWE
Ret
MEX
1
ARG
1
JOR
10
ITA
1
GRE
1
TUR
3
FIN
1
GER
1
NZL
1
ESP
1
FRA
1
JPN
3
GBR
1
1st122
2009 Citroën Total WRT Citroën C4 WRC IRE
1
NOR
1
CYP
1
POR
1
ARG
1
ITA
4
GRE
Ret
POL
7
FIN
2
AUS
2
ESP
1
GBR
1
1st93
2010 Citroën Total WRT Citroën C4 WRC SWE
2
MEX
1
JOR
1
TUR
1
NZL
3
POR
2
BUL
1
FIN
3
GER
1
JPN
5
FRA
1
ESP
1
GBR
1
1st276
2011 Citroën Total WRT Citroën DS3 WRC SWE
6
MEX
1
POR
2
JOR
3
ITA
1
ARG
1
GRE
2
FIN
1
GER
2
AUS
10
FRA
Ret
ESP
1
GBR
Ret
1st222
2012 Citroën Total WRT Citroën DS3 WRC MON
1
SWE
6
MEX
1
POR
Ret
ARG
1
GRE
1
NZL
1
FIN
1
GER
1
GBR
2
FRA
1
ITA
Ret
ESP
1
1st270
2013 Citroën Total Abu Dhabi WRT Citroën DS3 WRC MON
1
SWE
2
MEX POR ARG
1
GRE ITA FIN GER AUS FRA
Ret
ESP GBR 8th68
2015 Citroën Total Abu Dhabi WRT Citroën DS3 WRC MON
8
SWE MEX ARG POR ITA POL FIN GER AUS FRA ESP GBR 18th6
2018 Citroën Total Abu Dhabi WRT Citroën C3 WRC MON SWE MEX
5
FRA
14
ARG POR ITA FIN GER TUR GBR ESP
1
AUS 13th43
2019 Hyundai Shell Mobis WRT Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC MON
4
SWE
7
MEX FRA
8
ARG CHL
3
POR
Ret
ITA FIN GER TUR GBR ESP
4
AUS
C
11th51
2020 Hyundai Shell Mobis WRT Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC MON
6
SWE MEX EST TUR
3
ITA MNZ 10th24

* Season still in progress.

JWRC results

(key)

YearEntrantCar123456Pos.Points
2001 Sébastien Loeb Citroën Saxo Kit Car ESP
1
GRE
1
1st50
Citroën Saxo VTS S1600 FIN
1
ITA FRA
1
GBR
1

Complete 24 Hours of Le Mans results

YearTeamCo-DriversCarClassLapsPos.Class
Pos.
2005 Flag of France.svg Pescarolo Sport Flag of France.svg Soheil Ayari
Flag of France.svg Éric Hélary
Pescarolo C60 Hybrid-Judd LMP1288DNFDNF
2006 Flag of France.svg Pescarolo Sport Flag of France.svg Éric Hélary
Flag of France.svg Franck Montagny
Pescarolo C60 Hybrid-Judd LMP13762nd2nd

FIA GT Series results

(key) (Races in bold indicate pole position) (Races in italics indicate fastest lap)

YearTeamCarClass123456789101112Pos.Points
2013 Sébastien Loeb Racing McLaren MP4-12C GT3 Pro NOG
QR

1
NOG
CR

12
ZOL
QR

17
ZOL
CR

13
ZAN
QR

Ret
ZAN
CR

14
SVK
QR

1
SVK
CR

Ret
NAV
QR

1
NAV
CR

1
BAK
QR

14
BAK
CR

2
4th82

Complete Porsche Supercup results

(key) (Races in bold indicate pole position) (Races in italics indicate fastest lap)

YearTeam1234567891011DCPoints
2013 Porsche AG ESP
11
MON
16
GBR GER HUN BEL ITA UAE UAE NC†0
2015 Sébastien Loeb Racing ESP MON AUT GBR HUN BEL
13
BEL
Ret
ITA ITA USA USA NC†0

 – As Loeb was a guest driver, he was ineligible to score points.

Complete World Touring Car Championship results

(key) (Races in bold indicate pole position) (Races in italics indicate fastest lap)

YearTeamCar123456789101112131415161718192021222324DCPoints
2014 Citroën Total WTCC Citroën C-Elysée WTCC MAR
1

2
MAR
2

1
FRA
1

2
FRA
2

6
HUN
1

7
HUN
2

9
SVK
1

1
SVK
2

C
AUT
1

4
AUT
2

7
RUS
1

3
RUS
2

5
BEL
1

3
BEL
2

5
ARG
1

4
ARG
2

6
BEI
1

5
BEI
2

3
CHN
1

4
CHN
2

12
JPN
1

3
JPN
2

7
MAC
1

6
MAC
2

6
3rd295
2015 Citroën Total WTCC Citroën C-Elysée WTCC ARG
1

3
ARG
2

1
MAR
1

3
MAR
2

2
HUN
1

6
HUN
2

5
GER
1

2
GER
2

5
RUS
1

9
RUS
2

7
SVK
1

3
SVK
2

1
FRA
1

1
FRA
2

Ret
POR
1

2
POR
2

15†
JPN
1

6
JPN
2

4
CHN
1

3
CHN
2

4
THA
1

2
THA
2

1
QAT
1

4
QAT
2

4
3rd356

Driver did not finish the race, but was classified as he completed over 90% of the race distance.

Complete Global RallyCross Championship results

(key)

Supercar

YearEntrantCar123456GRCPoints
2012 Hansen Motorsport Citroën DS3 CHATEXLA
1
NHLVSLVC17th21

Complete FIA European Rallycross Championship results

(key)

Supercar

YearEntrantCar123456789ERXPoints
2013 Hervé Lemonnier Citroën DS3 GBRPORHUNFINNORSWEFRA
9 8 + 3
AUTGER27th11

Complete FIA World Rallycross Championship results

(key)

Supercar

YearEntrantCar123456789101112WRXPoints
2016 Team Peugeot-Hansen Peugeot 208 WRX POR
5
HOC
10
BEL
2
GBR
10
NOR
5
SWE
2
CAN
9
FRA
3
BAR
8
LAT
1
GER
8
ARG
8
5th209
2017 Team Peugeot-Hansen Peugeot 208 WRX BAR
14
POR
2
HOC
5
BEL
7
GBR
4
NOR
3
SWE
3
CAN
3
FRA
2
LAT
3
GER
11
RSA
10
4th214
2018 Team Peugeot Total Peugeot 208 WRX BAR
2
POR
2
BEL
1
GBR
3
NOR
8
SWE
9
CAN
3
FRA
6
LAT
3
USA
4
GER
8
RSA
3
4th229

Dakar Rally results

YearClassVehiclePositionStages won
2016 Cars Flag of France.svg Peugeot 9th4
2017 2nd5
2018 DNF1
2019 3rd4
2021 Flag of the United Kingdom.svg BRX DNF0

*

Complete Extreme E results

(key)

YearTeamCar12345678910Pos.Points
2021 Team X44 Spark ODYSSEY 21 DES
Q

1
DES
R

3
OCE
Q

1
OCE
R

4
ARC
Q
ARC
R
ISL
Q
ISL
R
TBC
Q
TBC
R
2nd*57*

* Season still in progress.

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Awards and achievements
Preceded by
Petter Solberg
Autosport
International Rally Driver Award

2004–2006
Succeeded by
Marcus Grönholm
Preceded by
Marcus Grönholm
Autosport
International Rally Driver Award

2008
Succeeded by
Mikko Hirvonen
Preceded by
Mikko Hirvonen
Autosport
International Rally Driver Award

2010–2012
Succeeded by
Sébastien Ogier
Preceded by
Laure Manaudou
Alain Bernard
French Sportsperson of the Year
(with Daniel Elena)

2007
2009
Succeeded by
Alain Bernard
Christophe Lemaitre
Sporting positions
Preceded by
None
Junior World Rally Champion
2001
Succeeded by
Daniel Solà
Preceded by
Marcus Grönholm
Race of Champions
Champion of Champions

2003
Succeeded by
Heikki Kovalainen
Preceded by
Petter Solberg
World Rally Champion
2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008,
2009, 2010, 2011, 2012
Succeeded by
Sébastien Ogier
Preceded by
Cristiano da Matta
Fonsi Nieto
Gilles Panizzi
Race of Champions
Nations' Cup

2004 with:
Jean Alesi
Succeeded by
Mattias Ekström
Tom Kristensen
Preceded by
Heikki Kovalainen
Race of Champions
Champion of Champions

2005
Succeeded by
Mattias Ekström
Preceded by
Mattias Ekström
Race of Champions
Champion of Champions

2008
Succeeded by
Mattias Ekström
Records
Preceded by
Carlos Sainz
26 wins
(19872005)
Most rally wins
79 wins,

27th at the 2006 Rally Japan
Succeeded by
Incumbent
Preceded by
Rhys Millen
9:46.164
(2012)
Pikes Peak Hillclimb
8:13.878

2013
Succeeded by
Incumbent