Tough debut for Sebastian Loeb as part of 2016 Dakar preparations

Sebastien Loeb was classified in 44th place on the Morocco Rally after a difficult debut in cross-country rallying with Peugeot's works Dakar programme

Tough debut for Sebastian Loeb as part of 2016 Dakar preparations

The nine-time World Rally champion turned World Touring Car Championship racer will attempt the Dakar Rally for the first time next year.

He entered this week's five-day round of the FIA World Cup for Cross Country Rallies in Peugeot's latest 2008 DKR16 as the next step in that project.

But Loeb's rally got off to a bad start when a turbo problem stranded him on the opening stage until a truck was able to tow him to the finish.

Further delays followed on Wednesday - when he and co-driver Daniel Elena's car was stuck on its side in a hollow for three hours - and on Friday's final stage, when he became stuck in sand dunes.

In between, Loeb was sixth-quickest on stage two and third fastest on Thursday.

"It was important for us to do a rally before Dakar because we start from nearly zero so have to learn everything," said Loeb.

"We had some good days with very good times on the stages, and we had some more complicated days with mistakes from my side, mechanical problems and mistakes with navigation.

"All this experience is important to prepare for the future, to analyse why we did these mistakes, understand them and then find a solution."

Loeb was encouraged by his pace when things were running smoothly.

"The strongest point is we saw we are able to be in a good rhythm," he said.

"When everything is going well for us, we are fast.

"Then we have to avoid mistakes, and with our low experience it's not easy.

"In some situations we have to take the right decision and it's not always logical for us.

"We need the experience. We need to drive."

Carlos Sainz led the rally in the sister Peugeot, but he retired on the penultimate day with an engine problem.

Fellow WRC man Nasser Al-Attiyah won, with Mikko Hirvonen fifth in another X-raid Mini.

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WRC legend Sebastien Loeb to make Dakar debut with Peugeot in 2016

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Series Dakar
Drivers Sébastien Loeb