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Loeb: 2009 F1 chance was a one-off

Sebastien Loeb during his Red Bull F1 testWorld Rally legend Sebastien Loeb believes he missed his only chance to try Formula 1 when 2009's bid to contest an end-of-season grand prix failed to come to fruition.

Attempts were made last year to get Loeb into a Toro Rosso seat for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix after the Frenchman had impressed in what was originally an informal Red Bull F1 test the previous winter. Loeb went as far as testing a GP2 car in preparation, but was unable to get the required superlicence.

In an interview for the Race of Champions, Loeb confirmed that once the Toro Rosso chance was denied, he decided not to keep pushing for an F1 opportunity.

"It's not a possibility. It was just an idea from Red Bull last year and finally we couldn't get to the end of the project. Now it's over," he said.

"If I have the opportunity to drive a car just for fun at a test, for sure I will do it. But I don't think I will do any races."

He reckons that any F1 outing would have been a struggle for him, predicting that his transition would have been just as challenging as Kimi Raikkonen's move to the WRC has proved this season.

"Like you see for Kimi also, it's hard work to get the experience and for sure the other way would be the same," said Loeb.

"When you see the young drivers coming into Formula 1, they are 20 years old and I am 36, so maybe I have to think of something else now."

Loeb is racing against F1 drivers Michael Schumacher, Sebastian Vettel and Heikki Kovalainen at the Race of Champions this weekend.

While Loeb won the event outright in 2003, '05 and '08, and took France to Nations' Cup honours with Jean Alesi in '04, he said this year's RoC was proving one of the toughest ever, partly due to the introduction of new machinery such as the Audi R8 LMS, VW Scirocco and stock cars.

Loeb and Team France partner Alain Prost were knocked out of the Nations' Cup in the semi-finals by Great Britain last night.

"We saw yesterday it was not so easy this year," said Loeb.

"The cars are very different from the cars I'm used to driving, so it's difficult, but we'll see. It will be a hard fight."

For more information on the Race of Champions go to www.raceofchampions.com.

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