Sebastien Loeb surprised to be axed by Citroen for 2016 WTCC season

Sebastien Loeb has admitted he was surprised to be dropped by Citroen, because he expected to contest next year's World Touring Car Championship with the French manufacturer

Sebastien Loeb surprised to be axed by Citroen for 2016 WTCC season

Citroen announced on Thursday that Jose Maria Lopez and Yvan Muller will be the only two factory C-Elysee drivers next season in the WTCC, while Loeb departs for Peugeot Sport and a Dakar effort in 2016.

The nine-time World Rally champion said: "I was surprised when I learned that I won't move forward to defend the colours of Citroen Racing in 2016.

"We built this challenge in WTCC together, with the personal goal to get the drivers' title in under three years.

"I am disappointed that the adventure stops after two years because I had the desire to go get this title.

"I had shown my competitiveness aboard the C-Elysee, with four wins in 2015 in particular.

"A beautiful story comes to an end, but I don't have any regrets. On the contrary, I keep the great memories."

Loeb has driven for Citroen for 15 years, winning 78 rounds of the World Rally Championship before his switch to touring cars in 2014.

He took his first WTCC win at his first race weekend in the series. In an emotional farewell, he gave thanks for their success together.

"Since the very beginning of the 2000s," Loeb continued, "Citroen was my brand of heart. I lived incredible moments.

"And for that, I would like to thank all the people who have given me the opportunity to live my passion on a daily basis.

"We wrote beautiful pages of the history of the brand in competition.

"Of course, all these moments have been shared with the men and women of Citroen Racing, mechanics and engineers, and also Danos [Daniel Elena, co-driver].

"These colleagues have become my friends, a second family as they say. I only have one thing to say: thank you."

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