Sebastien Loeb signs 2019 Hyundai World Rally Championship deal

Sebastien Loeb has signed to drive for Hyundai in the 2019 World Rally Championship

Sebastien Loeb signs 2019 Hyundai World Rally Championship deal

Autosport understands the agreement, Loeb's first professional contract outside of the PSA Group, could be announced as early as Thursday.

Loeb is currently out of contact and is testing the PH Sport-run Peugeot 3008DKR in Liwa, Abu Dhabi ahead of next month's Dakar.

Hyundai was unavailable for comment, but team manager Alain Penasse confirmed the squad was talking to the nine-time World Rally champion.

The precise details of how Loeb will fit into Hyundai's squad, and what this means for current driver Hayden Paddon remain to be seen.

Loeb has already ruled out a full-time return to the series and his Dakar commitment would complicate a Monte Carlo entry.

Penasse told Autosport last week there would be no Monte Carlo surprises from the team in terms of line-up, with Thierry Neuville, Dani Sordo and Andreas Mikkelsen driving the factory i20 Coupe WRCs on the January 24-27 opener.

Peugeot's departure from the World Rallycross Championship earlier this year left Loeb without a professional contract for the first time in almost two decades going into next season.

Signing with Hyundai could keep his rallycross options open, with his old WRC adversary Marcus Gronholm potentially continuing in WRX next season with i20s in his GRX squad.

After five years away from a full-time WRC drive, Loeb returned for three rallies with Citroen this season, ending that limited programme with a sensational win in Spain.

That success prompted an admission from the Frenchman that another WRC programme could be on the cards.

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Series WRC
Drivers Sébastien Loeb
Teams RK World Rally Team
Author David Evans
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