Volkswagen sceptical over Sebastien Loeb WRC return motive

Volkswagen team boss Jost Capito fears the 2015 World Rally Championship will be devalued if part-time drivers such as Sebastien Loeb benefit from the running order regulations to snatch victories

Volkswagen sceptical over Sebastien Loeb WRC return motive

Next year the start order will be based on championship standings for the first two days of each WRC event, rather than one as is presently the case.

That means the points leader will run in potentially the worst stage conditions for the majority of every rally, before a reverse-order system is applied for Sunday.

Loeb will return to the WRC to contest the season-opener in Monte Carlo next month.

Citroen insists this is a one-off, but Capito suspects Loeb will return for more events, take advantage of being further down the order in the championship and rally start order, and potentially skew the title fight.

"In places like Mexico, it's not possible for the guy opening the road to win the rally," said Capito.

"On events like this, if a team brings another driver - somebody like Sebastien Loeb, then he will win. It's simple.

"We heard that Loeb will be back in Monte Carlo, but I am sure he will be doing more than that.

"I'm sure he will be coming to do three or four rallies and he can make a lot of points for them."

Capito, whose lead driver Sebastien Ogier has won the last two WRC titles, says a string of Loeb wins would be unfair on the 2015 champion.

"What bothers me is if Loeb does come and maybe win three or four rallies, then he goes away and doesn't do the whole championship," said Capito.

"From the outside, everybody would look at what Loeb has done and say 'Hey, this guy would have won the title if he had done the whole championship - the other guy only won because Loeb wasn't there...'

"Such a move would devalue the championship and I warned them that this would be happening from the first time they talked about making this change."

The VW chief said he would even consider benching a front-line driver to take advantage of the rules.

"If we were to take, say, Jari-Matti [Latvala] out of the car for one event, we could bring in another driver and run him 10th or 15th on the road, in the best conditions and win the event," Capito said.

"But who do we bring? Who is there out there that could beat Loeb from the same place on the road? There's nobody."

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Series WRC
Drivers Sébastien Loeb
Author David Evans
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