Loeb announces new Dakar co-driver for 2022

Sebastien Loeb has announced Fabian Lurquin as his new co-driver for the 2022 Dakar Rally in Saudi Arabia.

Sebastien Loeb, X44

Xavier de Soultrait – a starter of the Dakar on six occasions – was also in the frame for the seat.

Loeb said that Lurquin’s experience of rally raid and his knowledge of its inner workings is what “convinced” him.

Both men were asked along to a private test in Dubai earlier this month to help Loeb’s decision making.

Sharing the news via his official Twitter page, Loeb posted: “After several weeks of exchanges , and tests with specialist and experienced rally raid co-drivers, my choice is finally to go with Fabian Lurquin.

“His approach to the race, and his experience of the terrain convinced me. The unveiling of the 2022 Dakar route last week, where navigation will play an even bigger role definitely influenced my decision.

“We will now start working together with Fabian and put together a program of preparation to enable us to get to know each other better and be ready for the start of this famous event."

Loeb has been on the hunt for a new team-mate following his split with Daniel Elena back in March.

In the days after they parted company, nine-time WRC winner Loeb opened up about the shock news.

The Frenchman claimed that “a loss of mutual” trust and understanding inside the car was to blame.

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They sat together on all five of Loeb’s Dakar Rally starts, with this year’s ending in retirement for them.

Despite having high hopes for the Prodrive-run Bahrain Raid Xtreme BRX1 pre-event, any chance they had of challenging Toyota and X-Raid Mini were dashed by a 5-minute speeding penalty on stage four.

Things went from bad to worse for them on stage eight when they picked up two punctures, and with only one spare on board they had to pull out of the event which Stephane Peterhansel eventually won for a record-extending fourteenth time.

The World Rally Championship is where Loeb and Elena enjoyed their greatest success, chalking up 79 victories and 925 stage wins from 2002 to 2018. All of their WRC trophies came in Citroen machinery.

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