Loeb Enjoys Rare Supremacy

Sebastien Loeb's cool efficiency has taken him to position of dominance in world rallying not enjoyed by a driver since Finn Tommi Makinen won four titles in a row in the 1990s

Loeb Enjoys Rare Supremacy

The French Citroen driver clinched his second successive Championship by finishing second in the Rally of Japan on Sunday and set the seal on two years of unparalleled success.

The 31-year-old has now won 14 of the last 29 rallies and in the process set records for the most wins in a season (eight) and the most consecutive victories (six).

Loeb started out as an asphalt specialist but quickly became equally adept on gravel and snow, finishing on the podium with remarkable consistency.

In 2003, his first full season in the World Championship, he finished just a point away from the title and since then his domination, commitment and nerveless driving style have drawn comparisons with Formula One great Michael Schumacher.

Ironically, the withdrawal of Citroen from the ailing Championship could rob Loeb of the chance of winning a hat-trick of titles next year, or even taking part at all.

Loeb, who will not be alone among the top performers seeking a new drive, could be snapped up by Ford although he may decide to take a non-works Citroen in the hope that the French manufacturer returns in 2007.

Successful Gymnast

Born in Oberhoffen, Alsace, Loeb first followed his father into gymnastics and enjoyed considerable success before switching his focus to driving as a teenager.

He made his World Championship debut in 1999 at the wheel of a Citroen Saxo kit car and won the A6 class in the Tour of Corsica and the San Remo rally.

In 2000, Loeb clinched the title in the two-wheel drive class of the French Gravel Rally Championship.

He also drove in two more World Championship events, finishing ninth in Corsica and 10th in San Remo, both times in a Toyota Corolla.

Citroen took him on as an official driver in 2001 to drive a Xsara kit car in the French Championship and a Saxo Super 1600 in the World Championship.

A victory in Monte Carlo opened the 2002 season but the result was later overturned when Loeb was penalised for an illegal wheel change.

Loeb's first win came instead in Germany the same year.

Three more wins and three second places followed in 2003 when Loeb fought a close battle for the world title with Petter Solberg.

After running so close to the title, he dominated the next season with a record six wins -- in Monte Carlo, Sweden, Cyprus, Turkey, Germany and Australia

He was also runner-up six times, securing his first title on home soil in Corsica and becoming only the second Frenchman to be Champion after Didier Auriol in 1994.

This year he opened with a third successive Monte Carlo victory then won New Zealand, Italy, Cyprus, Turkey, Greece and Argentina to set a record for successive wins.

The Argentina win was his seventh of the season broke his own mark for successive wins and he further extended that mark with victory in Germany.

shares
comments
Loeb Wins 2nd Consecutive Title

Previous article

Loeb Wins 2nd Consecutive Title

Next article

Loeb's Route to the 2005 Title

Loeb's Route to the 2005 Title
Load comments

About this article

Series WRC
Drivers Sébastien Loeb
Why the casualty of rallying's evolution should still be cherished Plus

Why the casualty of rallying's evolution should still be cherished

The WRC's support categories are in a process of streamlining that will spell the end of a formalised 2WD world championship-level category. While its relevance to the top level has been questioned for some time, that doesn't mean it should be swept quietly under the carpet

WRC
Apr 5, 2021
Why WRC's hybrid path could leave it at a crossroads Plus

Why WRC's hybrid path could leave it at a crossroads

With all three major manufacturers committing to the World Rally Championship’s hybrid era from 2022, the future of the series is assured for now, but it could lead to trickier twists and turns further down the road

WRC
Apr 1, 2021
How Tanak froze out the competition at the Arctic Rally Plus

How Tanak froze out the competition at the Arctic Rally

Ott Tanak made up for a disastrous Monte Carlo Rally by leading all the way on the snow-kissed stages of the Arctic Rally Finland and in the process hit back at an event Toyota had been expected to dominate

WRC
Mar 1, 2021
What to expect from the WRC's venture to the Arctic Plus

What to expect from the WRC's venture to the Arctic

This week's Arctic Rally Finland will bring the World Rally Championship into new territory. And, almost without exception, the service park can't wait for the subzero challenge to commence

WRC
Feb 25, 2021
How Ogier achieved a fitting Monte Carlo farewell Plus

How Ogier achieved a fitting Monte Carlo farewell

Against pandemic-shaped odds, the World Rally Championship season opener went ahead in Monte Carlo last weekend as a familiar face again took top spot. But for an emotional Sebastien Ogier, his record-breaking eighth win meant more than most

WRC
Jan 25, 2021
What to look out for in the 2021 WRC Plus

What to look out for in the 2021 WRC

As the 2021 World Rally Championship prepares to launch amid tight COVID-19 restrictions in Monte Carlo, here are the eight things unrelated to the pandemic that you should keep an eye on this year

WRC
Jan 21, 2021
Evans on the talking points of WRC 2021 Plus

Evans on the talking points of WRC 2021

He came close to the title last year, and now Toyota's Elfyn Evans gives his verdict on what to expect from 2021 as the World Rally Championship prepares to reconvene for the Monte Carlo season opener

WRC
Jan 20, 2021
Why Britain's continued WRC absence is a wake-up call Plus

Why Britain's continued WRC absence is a wake-up call

OPINION: With Rally GB dropping off the World Rally Championship calendar for the second year in a row, one of Britain's best-attended sporting events faces an uncertain future. It's an unfortunate situation that points to troubling times ahead

WRC
Jan 12, 2021