M-Sport keen to extend Loeb WRC deal after Monte Carlo success

M-Sport boss Malcolm Wilson says there is “a possibility” Sebastien Loeb will return to contest more World Rally Championship rounds this year following his victory in Monte Carlo.

M-Sport keen to extend Loeb WRC deal after Monte Carlo success

Loeb and co-driver Isabelle Galmiche combined to pull off a sensational win over reigning champion Sebastien Ogier and new co-driver Benjamin Veillas, following a final stage decider on Sunday.

The nine-time champion’s WRC return came through a one event deal with M-Sport Ford to pilot a fourth Puma at Monte Carlo, with Loeb admitting pre-event that it could potentially be his only outing for the team this year.

In order to secure the drive, Loeb was released from a contract with Prodrive for whom he competes for in the Dakar Rally and in Extreme E, the latter through Lewis Hamilton’s X44 team.

After recording his 80th WRC win, becoming the oldest driver to clinch a victory in the championship, M-Sport is keen to extend its arrangement with the Frenchman for further rounds, pending his busy schedule.

Speaking in the post-event press conference, Loeb was asked about his WRC future with M-Sport and remained relatively tight-lipped on the subject.

“I am leading the world championship now," he joked, before adding, “We don’t have any plan for the future for now.”

M-Sport boss Wilson heaped praise on Loeb’s achievement and is keen to see him back behind the wheel of the Puma later this year.

“I would really like him to do more rounds,” Wilson told Autosport.

“I think he must go down in history in the highest level of sportsman, he has been absolutely incredible to do it at the age that he is, to win at the highest level against the guy who was won it eight times before. It is just remarkable.

“There is a possibility, there is a lot of things to sort out but we would like to see him back in the car, especially after here, but we have to see what happens in the next few weeks.”

Sébastien Loeb, Isabelle Galmiche, M-Sport Ford World Rally Team Ford Puma Rally1

Sébastien Loeb, Isabelle Galmiche, M-Sport Ford World Rally Team Ford Puma Rally1

Photo by: Red Bull Content Pool

Team principal Richard Millener added: “I mean the whole thing was based around this event to begin with, and we will use the result of this event to see what we can do going forward.

“We have ticked off that box in the brief and we will start working on seeing what is possible for the rest of the year. It depends on Seb and it depends on a number of things.

“I think realistically we would be looking at a handful of rallies as he has a busy calendar, but let’s see, you never know with WRC.”

Read Also:

Wilson also paid tribute to Loeb’s co-driver Galmiche, who became the first woman to stand on the top step of a WRC podium since Fabrizia Pons at the 1997 Monte Carlo Rally.

“Incredible,” he said when asked he thoughts on Galmiche’s performance. “To be honest how she coped is just remarkable.”

shares
comments

Related video

Monte Carlo success "a dream start" to WRC's new era for M-Sport
Previous article

Monte Carlo success "a dream start" to WRC's new era for M-Sport

Next article

How Monte masters stole the show as WRC's hybrid era blasted off

How Monte masters stole the show as WRC's hybrid era blasted off
Ranking the top 10 WRC drivers of 2022 Plus

Ranking the top 10 WRC drivers of 2022

The World Rally Championship welcomed in a new hybrid era in 2022, presenting an unknown challenge to the planet's top rally aces. New records were broken, as Toyota's leading charge became the youngest-ever title-winner, while familiar returning faces mixed it up with the new generation. Autosport picks out the 10 best performers from the year

WRC
Dec 5, 2022
The key steps on Rovanpera's romp to a history-making WRC title Plus

The key steps on Rovanpera's romp to a history-making WRC title

With only cameo roles played by legendary Sebastiens Ogier and Loeb, Kalle Rovanpera ushered in the new hybrid era for the World Rally Championship by becoming its youngest champion. Here's how Toyota's Flying Finn crushed the competition, led by Hyundai's departing star Ott Tanak

WRC
Dec 1, 2022
How trailblazer Kalle Rovanpera has ripped up the WRC record book Plus

How trailblazer Kalle Rovanpera has ripped up the WRC record book

At the tender age of 22, Kalle Rovanpera is redefining what’s possible to achieve in rallying and inspiring a new legion of fans as a result. The newly-crowned World Rally Championship title-winner and his peers reflect on his ability and the start of his success in the top tier

WRC
Nov 26, 2022
How Hyundai and Neuville gatecrashed Toyota's homecoming party Plus

How Hyundai and Neuville gatecrashed Toyota's homecoming party

Thierry Neuville signed off the 2022 World Rally Championship season with his second win of the season in Japan after Toyota rival Elfyn Evans suffered a late puncture. With Sebastien Ogier and Kalle Rovanpera also delayed by punctures and incidents, it opened the door for Neuville and Ott Tanak to record Hyundai's second 1-2 of the season in Toyota's own backyard

WRC
Nov 14, 2022
The message a WRC stalwart sent which its new king couldn’t answer Plus

The message a WRC stalwart sent which its new king couldn’t answer

Sebastien Ogier might be the outgoing World Rally champion, but it didn’t stop him reminding everyone of the skills that made him an eight-time world champion. As victory at Rally Spain led Toyota’s charge to a titles clean sweep, it did pose a question to newly-crowned champion Kalle Rovanpera which he could not answer

WRC
Oct 24, 2022
Autosport gets to grips as a WRC co-driver Plus

Autosport gets to grips as a WRC co-driver

The majority of headlines may focus on the exploits of drivers in the World Rally Championship, but the challenges facing their co-drivers are no less demanding. Autosport got in the passenger seat with Toyota Gazoo Racing to find out just what it takes to succeed

WRC
Oct 6, 2022
How Rally New Zealand encapsulated record-breaking Rovanpera’s WRC title charge Plus

How Rally New Zealand encapsulated record-breaking Rovanpera’s WRC title charge

Kalle Rovanpera’s coronation as the new World Rally Championship king had been a long time coming, only to be postponed by hiccups in Belgium and Greece. But at Rally New Zealand the “Full Send” Finn demonstrated exactly how he's been able to rewrite the rallying record book as he stormed to victory to become the youngest ever world champion

WRC
Oct 3, 2022
How a Toyota lifeline reignited Lappi's WRC career Plus

How a Toyota lifeline reignited Lappi's WRC career

Motorsport can be brutal at times. One moment a driver can be the next big thing, but it can spiral in the other direction so quickly. Thankfully, sometimes drivers receive second chances. And Esapekka Lappi has taken his World Rally Championship lifeline in both hands

WRC
Sep 28, 2022