Loeb: "More to come" from Peugeot in Portugal
Nine-time World Rally Champion Sebastien Loeb says there is more to come from both him and the Peugeot 208 WRX heading into the second day of the first round of the World Rallycross Championship in Portugal.
Loeb is currently fifth in the Intermediate Classification standings after the first two qualifiers on Saturday at the Montalegre circuit, where much of the day was run in torrentially wet conditions.
“The conditions were really, really tricky so it’s difficult, but they are the same for everybody,” the Team Peugeot-Hansen driver told Motorsport.com.
“It’s more a question of keeping the car on the track than to push hard, so the result was quite ok.
"I’m looking forward to having good conditions because you have to go quite slowly (when it’s so slippery), it’s not as fun as if you can’t really use the power of the car," the Frenchman added.
"We found some things to improve on the car for these conditions. I made some little mistakes too, so we will see on Sunday.”
Loeb made the best start in the very first race of the weekend to lead until the final lap, when he took his compulsory extra-route joker lap and dropped to third on track.
He set fifth fastest time overall. In Q2, the WTTC race winner dropped time on the third lap of his race, out braking himself into turn one and running wide, but managed fifth overall for a second time.
“The first start I took was the best of all the races, the second one was not as perfect but it was ok. The track is nice, there are some interesting corners and it’s quite technical," he said.
"For sure the gravel part really muddy and very slippery, but that’s the game,” continued Loeb, who has twice raced in rallycross prior to his World RX debut, at LA X Games in 2012 [where he won] and in the European Championship round in France in 2013.
Enjoying Rallycross outing
Double World RX event winner Mattias Ekstrom is top of the standings overnight, driving his Audi S1.
“The Audis are really fast in these conditions,” said Loeb. “We struggled a bit more. It’s not bad to be in this position at the moment and hopefully the conditions improve and we can too, so it will be better again.”
Loeb is enjoyed working with the Peugeot-Hansen team, run by 14-time FIA European Rallycross Champion Kenneth Hansen, and driving alongside both 2015 World RX runner-up Timmy Hansen and Peugeot Hansen Academy team drivers Davy Jeanney and Kevin Hansen.
“It’s a good team to work with, they have a lot of experience of rallycross, and even the young drivers that we have in the team have a lot of experience.
"It’s good to work with them, they are really passionate so it’s great and it’s a pleasure to be part of the family. We all have our own experiences.
"It’s good to all work together, plus the experience of Kenneth is really interesting, so I hope we can continue to improve.”
The top twelve cars after Q4 on Sunday qualify for a pair of six-car semi-finals, the top three from each moving to the final.
Portugal WRX: Ekstrom leads on rain-hit opening day
Portugal WRX: Ekstrom maintains advantage ahead of finals