Sebastien Loeb to compete in partial 2013 WRC program
Rally legend Sebastien Loeb is set to compete in a partial World Rally Championship program next year, with an eye of taking on a new challenge in the World Touring Car Championship.
The eight-times world champion announced today at the Paris Motor Show that he will reduce his role with the Citroen outfit, which is set to go through a restructure.
The French manufacturer has committed to continuing its WRC program, securing a naming-rights sponsorship agreement with Abu Dhabi tourism.
The sponsorship ensures the team will enter three Citroën DS3 WRCs in 2013, with current combination Mikko Hirvonen/Jarmo Lehtinen the only entry confirmed to race in every event.
While Citroen is changing its input to the WRC, it is eyeing a new challenge in the FIA World Touring Car Championship in 2014 – with Loeb as the lead driver.
“The role of brand ambassador for Citroën cannot be a passive one for someone as driven as Sébastien,” said Citroen’s team principal Yves Matton.
“This project would give him the opportunity to pursue his career in track racing with the support of the manufacturer with which he has worked since his competitive debut.
“The final decision regarding this programme is linked to the changes in the FIA regulations and, obviously, the determination of our current and future partners to support us in this project.”
Loeb’s circuit racing exploits have been limited, but over the years have increased. He finished second in the 2006 Le Mans 24 Hours, and has also raced in selected GT and Carrera Cup events.
With three rounds of this year’s World Rally Championship remaining, Loeb currently leads the standings and could wrap up the title at next weekend’s Rallye de France. If Loeb wins the title, it will be his ninth-consecutive championship.