Loeb: No plans at the moment for 2022 WRC return

Sebastien Loeb says he doesn’t have any plans for a World Rally Championship return next year but admits a drive in the new hybrid machinery would be difficult to refuse. 

Loeb: No plans at the moment for 2022 WRC return

The nine-time WRC champion last appeared in the championship in 2020 when the Frenchman joined Hyundai Motorsport for the Monte Carlo and Turkey rounds, finishing sixth and third respectively.

This year is the first time since 2017 that Loeb has been absent from the championship as the most successful driver in WRC history has focussed on a Dakar rally programme with Prodrive, and a campaign in the all-new electric powered Extreme E series, driving for Lewis Hamilton’s Team X44 alongside Cristina Gutierrez. 

However, Loeb has continued to follow the WRC closely and has been excited by the championship’s move to hybrid Rally1 rules for next year.

While intrigued by the new regulations, the  47-year-old says he has “no plan at the moment” to drive in the WRC next year, but would be keen for an opportunity.

Toyota, Hyundai and M-Sport are all yet to confirm their full driver rosters for next season. 

“There is no plan at the moment,” Loeb told Autosport when asked about the chances of an WRC outing next year.

Asked if he had held any talks with teams, he added: “Not especially but it is always nice to drive in WRC. It is difficult to say no because the sensation you get in WRC is just amazing.”

Hyundai hybrid Rally1

Hyundai hybrid Rally1

Photo by: Hyundai Motorsport

Loeb does however back WRC’s hybrid move and believes the power the new specification cars will have at their disposal will be impressive.

Read Also:

“I think it is a good way and for sure they [the WRC] needed to do something,” he said.

“I think hybrid is what suits the discipline the best as fully electric would not be good. I think the power the car will have with this hybrid system will be impressive, so it will be great to follow.”

Loeb is set to return to the Dakar Rally next year via the Prodrive-run Bahrain Raid Xtreme squad after retiring from the operation’s event debut in January.

Last weekend saw the 79-time WRC event winner return to the wheel of the BRX Hunter for the Baja Aragon event in Spain, where he finished seventh overall, having held a commanding three minute lead into the final stage before a technical issue struck.   

shares
comments

Related video

Ogier plans to help Toyota as much as possible with 2022 WRC car
Previous article

Ogier plans to help Toyota as much as possible with 2022 WRC car

Next article

Katsuta welcomes new WRC co-driver as injured Barritt continues recovery

Katsuta welcomes new WRC co-driver as injured Barritt continues recovery
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
Autosport writers' most memorable moments of 2022 Plus

Autosport writers' most memorable moments of 2022

The season just gone was a memorable one for many of our staff writers, who are fortunate enough to cover motorsport around the world. Here are our picks of the best (and in some cases, most eventful) from 2022

Formula 1
Dec 31, 2022