Loeb open to further Citroen test outings after first C3 WRC run

Sebastien Loeb says he is open to making further test outings in Citroen's C3 WRC following his first run in the French firm's 2017 World Rally Championship challenger last week

Loeb open to further Citroen test outings after first C3 WRC run

Loeb drove the C3 WRC in wet then drying conditions on asphalt in France's Alsace region, and is reported to have completed close to 200 miles in 'stage' mode.

Gallery: Loeb tests Citroen's C3 WRC

The nine-time champion found the car a handful in the changeable conditions, with his comments on a lack of feel and driveability mirroring those of Citroen's regular drivers, but was pleased with the way the C3 ran in the dry.

Asked if he would be interested in testing again, Loeb told L'Equipe: "Making kilometres and kilometres of testing is not the most exciting, but when there are things to discover and you have not been driving the same car for 15 years then it's nice.

"I don't see myself doing tests all year, but a day from time-to-time, why not?"

He added that a gravel test was possible, but not something he had discussed with team principal Yves Matton.

Loeb, whose last competitive WRC outing was in 2015, said he felt he had lost none of the speed that carried him to 78 world rally wins.

"When I was driving, I had the feeling that nothing has changed and that I'm still as fast," he said.

"But my motivation [with the test] was the find the potential of these new cars and I have to admit I did not expect such a difference in the speed in the corners and in the dry."

Matton, who himself said he wanted Loeb to test the car on gravel, was pleased to have Loeb's feedback on the C3 WRC ahead of Rally Germany, an event Loeb won nine times in 10 years.

"In preparation for this event, we set up one of the most intense test sessions in the history of Citroen Racing," said Matton.

"On the first six days, the appointed drivers were able to drive on the three types of surface encountered during the race. They were all satisfied with the work done.

"Sebastien Loeb then did an additional day's work.

"The heavy rain that fell in the morning wasn't ideal but it helped us gather valuable information on driving in such specific conditions.

"In the dry, Seb's impressions matched those of Kris, Craig and Andreas and we compared the different technical feedback.

"Everything appears to be following on consistently after the Tour de Corse, where we showed how competitive the C3 WRC is on Tarmac."

Loeb's test prompted talk of the Frenchman returning to the WRC.

Marcus Gronholm - one of Loeb's chiefs rival during his time in the series - said he couldn't see Loeb making such a move.

"I'm very surprised if he is coming back, I don't think [it will happen]," said Gronholm.

"The competition is quite high now and he wants to win and it's not so easy. I don't think he will return."

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