Loeb, Greensmith miss out as Serderidis claims M-Sport Monte Carlo WRC seat

Sebastien Loeb and Gus Greensmith have missed out on a M-Sport seat for Monte Carlo with World Rally Championship privateer Jourdan Serderidis confirmed to pilot the third Ford Puma.

Loeb, Greensmith miss out as Serderidis claims M-Sport Monte Carlo WRC seat

Entries for the Monte Carlo Rally closed at midnight last Friday with organisers confirming a maximum 75 car field for the 2023 WRC curtain raiser from 19-22 January.

The entry list features 10 Rally1 cars, including three M-Sport Ford Pumas.

M-Sport has today confirmed that Greek privateer Serderidis will drive the third car in Monte Carlo for what will be a fourth WRC outing in a Puma Rally1, following appearances in Kenya, Greece and Spain this year.

Serderdis will contest Monte Carlo alongside M-Sport’s full-time entries for 2019 world champion Ott Tanak and Pierre-Louis Loubet - the latter’s promotion to a full-time seat was announced last week.

Serderidis will also pilot a Puma Rally1 at WRC rounds in Mexico, Sardinia and Kenya.  

Confirmation of Serderidis’ Monte Carlo entry appears to have ended hopes that nine-time world champion Loeb will defend his 2022 Monte Carlo win.

M-Sport had been pushing to agree a deal to retain the Frenchman, who contested four rallies for the squad last year and scored the Puma’s only win in the principality after a titanic scrap with Sebastien Ogier.

Millener admitted last week that reaching a deal for Monte Carlo would be “difficult” but reiterated a desire to add the 48-year-old to is ranks.

Loeb’s ability to compete in Monte Carlo is however hampered by his Dakar Rally commitments with the event finishing on Sunday 15 January and the the recce for the WRC season opener beginning on Tuesday 17 January.

“Obviously we would like to have Seb in the car but I think that is going to be difficult for Monte Carlo, but we won't stop trying,” Millener told Autosport.

Jourdan Serderidis, Frederic Miclotte, M-Sport Ford World Rally Team Ford Puma Rally1

Jourdan Serderidis, Frederic Miclotte, M-Sport Ford World Rally Team Ford Puma Rally1

Photo by: McKlein / Motorsport Images

“At the moment we have to put all our resources into Ott and that is where we have got to be realistic.

“It will be a funding thing,” Millener replied, when asked about the negotiations with Loeb. “To have two drivers at the top level that come with reasonable but big price tags.”

The announcement also confirms that Greensmith won’t contest a full WRC season with M-Sport this year, having been part of the team’s top flight WRC roster since 2020.

M-Sport team principal Richard Millener told Autosport that talks with Greensmith “to understand what we can do with him for the season” were set to be held last week.

It appears those discussions have failed to result in a renewal of the Briton’s full-time deal with the Cumbrian organisation.

It is unclear what the future holds for Greensmith, although the 25-year-old has been linked with a possible drive in a Toyota Yaris Rally1.

The Japanese brand is open to renting out its fourth car next season that will be vacant for half the rounds following Takamoto Katsuta’s promotion to the third manufacturer entry.

Katsuta will drive the team’s fourth entry but will take over the third car from Ogier for up to six rounds next year.

WRC 2023 driver line-ups

Toyota
Kalle Rovanpera
Elfyn Evans
Takamoto Katsuta
Sebastien Ogier [partial season]

Hyundai
Thierry Neuville
Esapekka Lappi
Dani Sordo [partial season]
Craig Breen [partial season]

M-Sport Ford
Ott Tanak
Pierre-Louis Loubet
Jourdan Serderidis [privateer - Monte Carlo, Mexico, Sardinia and Kenya ]

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