Loeb/M-Sport deal first nearly happened in 2005

The new Ford Puma Rally1 car

M-Sport managing director Malcolm Wilson has celebrated finally luring champion Frenchman Sebastien Loeb to his team.

Loeb is Citroen royalty, having won all nine of his World Rally Championship titles in partnership with the French brand, who no longer compete in the top tier of rallying.

He only stepped out of the Citroen fold at WRC level in 2019, running partial campaigns for Hyundai that season and the next.

Now, after forever being a thorn in their side, Loeb will be lining up for M-Sport Ford at the Rallye Monte-Carlo next month – albeit with no further 2022 events announced as yet.

Wilson revealed the agreement had been 16 years in the making.

“I came close to securing a deal with him back in 2005 but unfortunately at that time we were not able to make it happen,” he said.

“However, with the introduction of the new 2022 Rally1 regulations and following discussions with Red Bull, we both reached out to Seb to see if he might be interested to come and try the new cars – he was, he did and now we find ourselves in a position to say that he will join the team next year!

“It is fantastic to be able to bring such an accomplished driver to M-Sport and I have no doubt he is still capable of a fantastic result as well as being a mentor to our other drivers.

“It might have taken over 16 years to get this deal to come to reality, but it is great to see it finally happen.”

Loeb was a podium finisher in his most recent WRC start, at the 2020 Rally Turkey.

He will be one of four M-Sport drivers in action at the 2022 WRC opener, joined by Craig Breen, Gus Greensmith and Adrien Fourmaux.

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