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Wednesday, December 1, 2021

Loeb WRC 2022 return talks ongoing

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9-time WRC champion Loeb final contested a full-time WRC marketing campaign in 2012 with Citroen, however has made semi-regular outings within the intervening years with the French producer and subsequently with Hyundai, taking his record-extending 79th WRC victory on the 2018 Rally Spain.

He has been closely linked to a part-time WRC comeback with M-Sport for a number of months, with hypothesis growing after the Frenchman completed a test in the squad’s 2022 Rally1 hybrid Ford Puma following final month’s Rally Spain.

M-Sport is continuous to work on the undertaking that theoretically may see 47-year-old Loeb line-up for the season opening Monte Carlo Rally, marking his first WRC occasion since final 12 months’s Rally Turkey, the place he completed third in a part-time drive for Hyundai.

The crew has so far only announced new signing Craig Breen for subsequent season’s transfer to hybrid Rally1 rules, though it’s anticipated Adrien Fourmaux and Gus Greensmith will retain their seats. The addition of Loeb, a title challenger in Excessive E this 12 months for the Prodrive-run X44 crew, may see the British crew area a fourth part-time Puma entry.

M-Sport crew principal Richard Millener stated previous to this weekend’s season-ending Rally Monza that discussions are persevering with with Loeb for subsequent 12 months, however are but to succeed in a conclusion.

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“There are many talks however not a lot to speak about for the time being,” stated Millener.

“It’s one thing we’re nonetheless engaged on clearly, however sadly not ready to say something official about it.”

Ford Puma WRC Rally1

Picture by: WRC.com

Requested if the talks with Loeb have held up the affirmation of its two full-time seats alongside Breen, Millener added: “We’re in no actual rush to announce an excessive amount of we’ve got obtained a little bit of time to determine how we do it greatest. We’ve obtained an occasion this week and we’ve got obtained a little bit of time left.

“We’ll announce what we will, however we do have a little bit of time nonetheless.”

The prospect of Loeb maybe returning to the WRC for subsequent 12 months’s Monte Carlo Rally may arrange tantalising repeat of a head-to-head with the occasion’s report eight-time winner Sebastien Ogier.

Monte Carlo is set to be one of a handful of rallies Ogier will contest with Toyota next year following his WRC full-time retirement on the finish of this weekend’s season finale.

“It has all the time been good combating him throughout my profession and it does carry such an consideration to the occasion which might solely be good for the game,” Ogier instructed Autosport, when requested concerning the prospect of Loeb competing within the 2022 Monte Carlo Rally.

“I can say on this means I’ll get pleasure from to have the prospect to combat him another time, however we additionally know that even when he’s coming again it isn’t prefer it was once a few years in the past when it was undoubtedly going to be a combat between the 2 of us. Now we’ve got a few extra drivers becoming a member of the present.”

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