Citroen says it did not fire Sebastien Loeb from its WTCC team

Citroen has denied that it 'fired' rallying legend and World Touring Car Championship race winner Sebastien Loeb at the end of the 2015 season

Citroen says it did not fire Sebastien Loeb from its WTCC team

Nine-time World Rally champion Loeb's 15-year association with the French manufacturer recently came to an end, and he will switch to sister brand Peugeot in 2016 as part of its Dakar Rally effort.

Loeb expressed surprise at not being kept on by Citroen for 2016 and he said he was disappointed not to be allowed to continue racing in the WTCC.

Citroen team principal Yves Matton acknowledged the speculation surrounding Loeb's departure following the FIA prize giving on Friday, where Loeb collected his third place WTCC trophy along with his team-mates - 2015 champion Jose Maria Lopez and runner-up Yvan Muller.

"Intense media scrutiny and the search for sensational stories can sometimes overstate and distort reactions," said Matton.

"Seb wasn't 'fired', as has been suggested in some quarters.

"He is still part of the PSA Peugeot Citroen group and his new challenge with Peugeot Sport is not some sort of plan B, in view of his exceptional career.

"He chose to commit himself fully to the Dakar adventure and we'll be following his progress with great interest."

Matton added that Loeb's departure was clearly a significant landmark in Citroen's motorsport history.

"There's no denying that this undoubtedly marks the end of a great chapter in the history of Citroen Racing," he said.

"Our sense of nostalgia will shortly give way to recollection of some great memories.

"On a personal level, I'm proud and happy to have worked alongside Seb at various stages of his career with Citroen."

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