Loubet lands full-time 2023 WRC seat at M-Sport

Pierre-Louis Loubet will tackle a full World Rally Championship campaign for the first time with M-Sport in 2023.

Loubet lands full-time 2023 WRC seat at M-Sport

M-Sport has today confirmed the 25-year-old Frenchman will join the recently confirmed Ott Tanak as part of the Ford squad’s roster for the 2023 season.

As previously reported, Loubet was in the frame for a promotion to a full-time seat for the first time in his top flight WRC career after an impressive seven-round campaign with M-Sport this year.

PLUS: How Christmas came early for M-Sport with Tanak signing

Loubet clinched three stage wins and led a rally outright for the first time, while eclipsing his career best finish of seventh, with fourth place finishes in Sardinia and Greece.

“It’s a dream come true for me, something that I have been dreaming about since I was a kid," said Loubet.

“To do my first full season, and to do the main passion in my life every weekend is something truly fantastic.

“The full season takes off a lot of pressure because I know that I have 13 events to give me chance to show all my potential, and gives me the space to grow and learn.

“In 2023, my most important goal will be to finish every event, to gain experience and learn to know where we can push and go for maximum speed.

"To be an official driver and scoring manufacturer points for M-Sport is something I have always wanted, I am so pleased that M-Sport is believing in me like this.

“A huge thank you to Malcolm [Wilson, team owner] and Rich [Millener, team principal] who have done fantastic work for me. I’m so pleased to be working with M-Sport again, and to work alongside Ott as teammates is something very special.”

Pierre-Louis Loubet, M-Sport Ford World Rally Team

Pierre-Louis Loubet, M-Sport Ford World Rally Team

Photo by: M-Sport

The 2019 WRC2 champion will compete with a new co-driver in former Thierry Neuville navigator Nicolas Gilsoul, filling the seat vacated by Vincent Landais, who will team up with Sebastien Ogier at Toyota next year.

“I am very happy to be back in the WRC, especially with a really good package, with a young promising driver, top car and world champion team-mates,” said Gilsoul, who linked up with Loubet for the first time at last weekend’s Rallye National Hivernal du Devoluy.

Read Also:

“The main thing as well for me is taking part in the entire WRC calendar. I met Pierre-Louis last year during a training camp in France, at that time he was in a tough situation and I have been impressed by his mental strength to be able to show his speed, especially this year.

“Last weekend we did a national rally together and straight away I felt his driving skill which was enough to convince me.”

M-Sport team principal Richard Millener added: “We have all been impressed with Pierre’s performances this year.

He has continuously shown his willingness to learn from and surpass previous experiences and this is what makes him the perfect candidate for a full season.

“He is, of course, still early on in his Rally1 career, and this upcoming season will be pivotal for him.

“Pierre is a real team player and has quickly become a key member of the M-Sport family, and personally, I’m looking forward to seeing what we will achieve together next year; I sincerely hope we see him claim a very well-deserved first podium result.”

Pierre-Louis Loubet, Vincent Landais, M-Sport Ford World Rally Team Ford Puma Rally1

Pierre-Louis Loubet, Vincent Landais, M-Sport Ford World Rally Team Ford Puma Rally1

Photo by: M-Sport

It is still unclear if M-Sport will field more than two cars for 2023, although entries for the January season opener in Monte Carlo are set to close on Friday.

It appears Oliver Solberg, who held talks with M-Sport, won’t be joining the team following confirmation of his move to WRC2 Skoda squad Toksport.

However, it is also understood that M-Sport was due to hold talks with Gus Greensmith this week to discuss his future with the team.

The organisation was also pushing to retain nine-time world champion Sebastien Loeb on a part-time basis, although they admitted a deal would be “difficult” to achieve for Monte Carlo.

WRC 2023 driver line-up to date
 
Toyota
Kalle Rovanpera
Elfyn Evans
Takamoto Katsuta
Sebastien Ogier [partial season]

Hyundai
Thierry Neuville
Esapekka Lappi
Dani Sordo/Craig Breen
 
M-Sport Ford
Ott Tanak
Pierre-Louis Loubet
TBA
shares
comments
Solberg reveals Skoda WRC2 programme for 2023
Previous article

Solberg reveals Skoda WRC2 programme for 2023

Next article

Fourmaux to lead M-Sport’s 2023 WRC2 attack

Fourmaux to lead M-Sport’s 2023 WRC2 attack
Why Monte Carlo success could spark another past master’s WRC revival Plus

Why Monte Carlo success could spark another past master’s WRC revival

Some 39 years on from his Monte Carlo Rally debut, World Rally Championship legend Francois Delecour continues to pick up silverware. Proving that age is purely a number, the 60-year-old's desire to compete against the WRC’s latest young talents could be the start of a new chapter in the Frenchman’s storied career

WRC
Jan 31, 2023
How fired-up Ogier became the WRC's ultimate Monte master Plus

How fired-up Ogier became the WRC's ultimate Monte master

He may only be contesting a part-time campaign in the World Rally Championship these days, but Sebastien Ogier underlined that he's lost none of his speed in the 2023 season opener. Storming to yet another victory on the Monte Carlo Rally, the eight-time world champion rewrote the history books again as Toyota served notice of its intentions with a crushing 1-2

WRC
Jan 23, 2023
How Lancia pulled off its famous Monte Carlo giantkilling Plus

How Lancia pulled off its famous Monte Carlo giantkilling

Audi should have been invincible in the snowy conditions that typically greeted the World Rally Championship paddock in Monte Carlo. But unexpectedly warm weather for the 1983 season opener, combined with some left-field thinking from the Lancia crew turned the tables. Forty years on, team boss Cesare Fiorio reflects on a smash and grab

WRC
Jan 21, 2023
Why M-Sport has pinned all its efforts on a WRC reunion Plus

Why M-Sport has pinned all its efforts on a WRC reunion

M-Sport had a disastrous 2022 with its Rally1 Ford Pumas following Sebastien Loeb’s first-time-out win on the Monte. But now things are looking up with 2019 world champion Ott Tanak leading its attack, and the Cumbrian operation has optimism that it can challenge for a first title since Sebastien Ogier's departure at the end of 2018

WRC
Jan 19, 2023
The contenders seeking to take Rovanpera's WRC crown Plus

The contenders seeking to take Rovanpera's WRC crown

As Kalle Rovanpera begins his World Rally Championship title defence in Monte Carlo, the Finn knows he has a target on his back. But who is best placed to knock the Toyota ace off his perch?

WRC
Jan 19, 2023
Why Rovanpera is anticipating a fight to defend his WRC title Plus

Why Rovanpera is anticipating a fight to defend his WRC title

Question: what could be harder than becoming the youngest-ever World Rally champion? Answer: becoming the youngest-ever two-time World Rally champion. That's quite the challenge facing Toyota's Kalle Rovanpera in 2022, particularly against rejuvenated opposition in the second year of the WRC's hybrid regulations

WRC
Jan 18, 2023
From F1 to WRC: Why Hyundai's new boss could be an inspired signing Plus

From F1 to WRC: Why Hyundai's new boss could be an inspired signing

OPINION: New Hyundai WRC team boss Cyril Abiteboul admits he’s got a lot to learn as he leads the marque's efforts to dethrone Toyota. But could his Formula 1 experience and evident strengths mean he turns out to be an inspired choice?

WRC
Jan 18, 2023
The ultimate rally car project the WRC is glad COVID killed Plus

The ultimate rally car project the WRC is glad COVID killed

Toyota was unstoppable in the 2021 World Rally Championship, with an excellent 75% strike rate from 12 rallies. But in a scary proposition for its rivals, the Japanese marque had built a car for the final year of the previous regulations set which it believes was much faster and could feasibly have crushed the opposition completely. Here the story of its mothballed world-beater

WRC
Jan 1, 2023