Citroen not ruling out WRC competition return for Loeb

Sebastien Loeb could return to WRC competition with Citroen, but not until next season at the earliest.

Citroen not ruling out WRC competition return for Loeb
Sébastien Loeb, Daniel Elena, Terry Folb, Franck Le Floch
Craig Breen, Scott Martin, Citroën C3 WRC, Citroën World Rally Team
Kris Meeke, Paul Nagle, Citroën C3 WRC, Citroën World Rally Team
Sébastien Loeb, Citroën Total Abu Dhabi World Rally Team
Sébastien Loeb, Citroën Total Abu Dhabi World Rally Team
Sébastien Loeb and Daniel Elena, Citroën DS3 WRC, Citroën Total Abu Dhabi World Rally Team
Sébastien Loeb and Daniel Elena, Citroën DS3 WRC, Citroën Total Abu Dhabi World Rally Team

Loeb will return to Citroen to test its C3 WRC in the coming days – this will be his first time working with the French firm since it dropped its nine-time world champion at the end of 2015.

As soon as the news broke of Loeb’s return to a World Rally Car, speculation began about a potential competitive return to the stages. Loeb hasn’t competed regularly in the WRC since lifting his ninth title in 2012.

Citroen team principal Yves Matton admitted that while there was no potential for a Loeb return to competition for the rest of this season, he conceded that, with enough preparation, he could see the Frenchman return to the championship. 

"In 2017 I have no chance to let him drive a car because I don’t have a car," Matton told Motorsport.com. "There are none available, so there is no way [for him] to drive this year.

"And, on top of that, I don’t think it’s a good idea on the short-term to let him drive an event.

"We know the level in WRC for the moment is quite high and that, with this kind of car, you need quite a high number of mileage to be at your level. If, one day, something like that could happen, then it needs to be well prepared.

"For 2018, I am quite far away from that. I have no idea. I will not tell you no, because it’s not no, but I will not say yes, because it’s not yes.

"I can understand the attraction to bring this guy back, but like I said, if that’s done, then it has to be done properly."

Andreas Mikkelsen will drive for the Versailles team alongside Kris Meeke and Craig Breen in Germany later this month, while Stephane Lefebvre and Khalid Al Qassimi will also compete in C3 WRCs in the second half of the season.

Loeb, who hasn't raced in a WRC event since the 2015 Rally Monte Carlo, admitted he had missed rallying.

"I can’t wait to get back into a World Rally Car and test how the technology has changed in that discipline," he said.

"I’m still passionate about rallying. Of all the disciplines I’ve tried since I retired five years ago, it’s the sensation of rallying that I love most."

After retiring from full-time WRC competition in 2012, Loeb spent two years with Citroen's WTCC team in 2014 and 2015 before joining Peugeot to mainly focus on WRX and cross-country rallying.

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