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Rally Report Magazine Argentina 15 años




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Voilà, les champions – World champions* Ogier, Ingrassia and Volkswagen ahead of the Rally France in Corsica.

Jari-Matti Latvala (FIN), Miikka Anttila (FIN) Volkswagen Polo R WRC (2015) WRC Rally Monte Carlo 2015

Home race for Ogier/Ingrassia, Polo R WRC to make its debut on Corsica at Rally France
Latvala/Anttila and Mikkelsen/Fløene battle it out for second place in championship
Unique Corsica: nine stages with an average length of 37 kilometres


26 September 2015

Wolfsburg (26 September 2015). Corsica is known for its natural beauty – and the island is now set welcome a natural motorsport beauty for the first time: the Polo R WRC. Volkswagen and Sébastien Ogier/Julien Ingrassia (F/F) arrive on the Mediterranean island for round eleven of the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) fresh from having successfully defended their World Championship titles. Despite having already wrapped up all three titles at the Rally Australia, the Volkswagen team still has a few questions to answer at the second asphalt rally of the year. For example: who will finish runner-up in the Drivers’ and Co-Drivers’ Championship? The two best-placed duos to occupy second spot come the end of the season are both in Volkswagen colours: second-placed Jari-Matti Latvala/Miikka Anttila (FIN/FIN) and third-placed Andreas Mikkelsen/Ola Fløene (N/N), who were responsible for a one-two “powered by Volkswagen” at the 2014 Rally France, which was held in Alsace. In 2015, however, they face a very different Rally France: the route features just nine special stages, but with an average length of 37 kilometres.

“The Rally France on Corsica represents a homecoming for the world champions. Sébastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia will line up at their home round of the World Championship as champions,” said Volkswagen Motorsport Director Jost Capito. “Given the way the season has panned out so far, it is crystal clear what this means: they will be out to win – as they are every time – and show what they are made of. However, the two crews who claimed a one-two in 2014 – Jari-Matti Latvala and Miikka Anttila, and Andreas Mikkelsen and Ola Fløene – also have high hopes and will be battling each other for the runner-up spot in the World Championship. However, our rivals at Hyundai, M-Sport-Ford and, above all, Citroën will also be doing everything in their power to win here. The unique itinerary, with its very long special stages, is a very interesting mix.”

The “Tour de Corse” for Volkswagen: a first

The Polo R WRC already has two wins in France to its name. In 2013, Sébastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia wrapped up their first World Championship title on home soil in Strasbourg. One year later, Volkswagen duo Jari-Matti Latvala/Miikka Anttila claimed the first victory by a Finnish duo on this surface for almost 15 years. This year, the Rally France has moved from Alsace to the island of Corsica. As such, the “Tour de Corse” is something of a first for the Polo R WRC, which has so far emerged triumphant at least once wherever it has been in action.

The “Tour de Corse” for driver and co-driver: long special stages, genuine challenges

Extremely fast sections, followed by slow, narrow roads. Asphalt that is both rough and slippery at the same time, sometimes reminiscent of roads from days gone by. And endlessly alternating uphill and downhill passages. The Rally France on Corsica is special in many regards. The long special stages – the shortest being 16.74 kilometres, the longest 48.46 – and distances of up to 80 kilometres to the next service for the standard Michelin tyres require the drivers to look after their black gold intelligently.

The rally on Corsica also features some classic stages, which enjoy a long history in the World Rally Championship. The French round of the championship was held on Corsica between 1973 and 2008. The special stages from days gone by – some of which have not been contested at the pinnacle of rallying for 30 years – are now back on the itinerary as Corsica makes its WRC comeback. The “Francardo/Sermano” special stage is a fine example of just how demanding the rally on Corsica can be: to the north of the rally centre of Corte, in one of the most attractive regions of the island, the narrow yet fast roads and a rollercoaster ride through the many mountainous regions pose an important question: man or mouse? The crews reach the highest point of the rally – 1,311 metres above sea level – on a genuine icon, the “Muracciole/Col de Sorba” special stage. Another classic rally stage: “Zérubia/Martini”. The surface characteristics change continuously, and exaggerated corners and bumpy sections alternate, before a sprint up the Col de Siu (731 metres).

The “Tour de Corse” for mathematicians: the hunt for the runners-up

A maximum 84 points are still up for grabs in the Drivers’ and Co-Drivers’ Championships. In the battle for the runner-up spot, exactly 23 points separate the Volkswagen duos of Latvala/Anttila and Mikkelsen/Fløene. Although no definite outcome in the race for second place overall can be reached on Corsica, it is certainly possible to take a big step in that direction. Latvala/Anttila are out to defend their second place from last year, while Mikkelsen/Fløene have their sights on going one better than their third place from 2014. The two duos, who claimed a one-two for Volkswagen at the Rally France last year, will also face stiff opposition from the Citroën and Hyundai camps. Mads Østberg/Jonas Andersson (N/S, Citroën) trail second place by 44 points, meaning they can still mathematically clinch the runner-up spot – as can Thierry Neuville/Nicolas Gilsoul (B/B, Hyundai) who are 48 points behind Latvala/Anttila.

* Subject to the official publication of the results by the FIA.

Quotes ahead of the Rally France

Sébastien Ogier, Volkswagen Polo R WRC #1
“I feel fantastic at the moment and am more than happy with life, as we have already achieved all our goals so early in the season. I still have not fully grasped what we have achieved. However, our success does not mean that we can relax for the rest of the season. Sure, the pressure is now off, but my hunger for more victories has not been satisfied. The Rally France is a very special rally for me. I love Corsica and have had some great holidays there. In 2008, I lined up in the Junior class, with the support of the French Motorsport Federation. And now, seven years later, I am returning to Corsica with a World Rally Car. It goes without saying that I would like to win there with Volkswagen. After all, the rally on Corsica is one of the most prestigious rallies of all. However, the long special stages will be a very big challenge for both me and the tyres. The roads can be damned narrow. As such, the Recce will once again play a key role.”

Jari-Matti Latvala, Volkswagen Polo R WRC #2
“Winning the Manufacturers’ title so early in the season was absolutely brilliant. That is a confirmation for the entire team. Despite this, I have to say that I would have liked to have won the Drivers’ World Championship this year. That was my goal, and I failed. However, the season is far from over, and I want to win the remaining three rallies. After all, we can lay the foundation for next season with a successful run-in. Consistency and pace are the two key factors. I have a lot of positive memories of the Rally Corsica and gained valuable experience there from 2004 to 2008. There is one thing I particularly love about the Rally France on Corsica: the asphalt offers extremely good grip, but you can never cut the undulating corners, and there are hardly any straight sections. If you find a 100-metre straight on Corsica, you are on the wrong island. After all the dirt and dust in Australia, I am now looking forward to a nice, clean asphalt rally.”

Andreas Mikkelsen, Volkswagen Polo R WRC #9
“I am right up there with the front-runners, and can feel that I am able to match the pace of my team-mates. I always said that I wanted to improve this season. That means I must climb one more place in the Drivers’ Championship. As such, a place on the podium is my goal for the Rally France, which this year returns to Corsica after a long absence. I know the island very well, as I have raced there four times in the past – twice in the World Rally Championship and twice in the IRC. I have to admit that I am yet to master the rally and produce a flawless performance there. The Rally Corsica is totally unforgiving. There are some very tricky corners, extremely narrow roads and long special stages, on which you can soon damage your tyres. There are only two stages that we tackle twice on Corsica, so you must really pay attention during the Recce and be right on the ball. Compared to other rallies, there are no straights on Corsica, on which you can catch your breath. If you are not one hundred per cent focussed, you can forget the rally.”

Did you know …

… the name Ogier joined the list of winners of the Rally France in 1961 and 1963? However, it wasn’t three-time world champion Sébastien, rather Jean-Claude Ogier, who at that time won the “Tour de Corse” as the co-driver alongside René Trautmann. Incidentally: Jean-Claude and Sébastien are not related, not even by marriage.

… Gilberte Thirion/Nadège Ferrier (B/CH) were the first winners of the “Tour de Corse” in 1956? Back then, the rally on Corsica was one of the most important national rallies.

… the Rally France on Corsica was part of the WRC calendar from 1973 to 2008? However, the WRC rotation system meant that in 1996 it was only part of the FIA 2-litre WRC for manufacturers.

… Volkswagen team-member Luís Moya won the Rally France in 1991 as the co-driver of Carlos Sainz, thereby making history? Sainz/Moya were the first Spanish duo ever to win in France.

… the Rally France is a strictly French affair? Out of 39 rallies in the WRC, 29 have been won by Frenchmen.

… multiple world champion Sébastien Loeb won the Rally France six times – all with Citroën? In the Alsace in 2010 and 2012, and on Corsica from 2005 to 2008.

… the other Sébastien – Volkswagen driver Ogier – also won the Rally France twice in the Alsace? With Citroën in 2011 and with Volkswagen in 2013.

The number for the Rally France: 05:01 hours

Five hours and one minute – that is the average amount of time between the start of the first and the final special stage on each of the three rally days at the Rally France on Corsica. As far as the actual action is concerned, it is the most compact schedule of the season. In comparison, the last two rallies in Germany and Australia, with an average of eight hours 34 minutes, and six hours 41 minutes respectively, were much longer. However, the times for the liaison stages and services are added to this.

FIA World Rally Championship (WRC), Overall Standings
Drivers’ Championship
1. Sébastien Ogier 235
2. Jari-Matti Latvala 134
3. Andreas Mikkelsen 111
4. Mads Østberg 90
5. Thierry Neuville 86
6. Kris Meeke 71
7. Elfyn Evans 63
8. Ott Tänak 62
9. Hayden Paddon 56
10. Dani Sordo 56
11. Martin Prokop 33
12. Khalid Al Qassimi 9
13. Juho Hänninen 8
14. Yuriy Protasov 8
15. Nasser Al-Attiyah 7
16. Abdulaziz Al-Kuwari 6
17. Robert Kubica 6
18. Sébastien Loeb 6
19. Esapekka Lappi 4
20. Diego Dominguez 4
21. Paolo Andreucci 4
22. Pontus Tidemand 2
23. Jan Kopecký 2
24. Nicolas Fuchs 2
25. Gustavo Saba 2
26. Stéphane Lefebvre 1
27. Jari Ketomaa 1
28. Lorenzo Bertelli 1
Co-Drivers’ Championship
1. Julien Ingrassia
2. Miikka Anttila 134
3. Ola Fløene 111
4. Jonas Andersson 90
5. Nicolas Gilsoul 86
6. Paul Nagle 71
7. Daniel Barritt 63
8. Raigo Mõlder 62
9. John Kennard 56
10. Marc Marti 56
11. Jan Tománek 33
12. Chris Patterson 9
13. Tomi Tuominen 8
14. Pavlo Cherepin 8
15. Matthieu Baumel 6
16. Marshall Clarke 6
17. Maciek Szczepaniak 6
18. Daniel Elena 6
19. Janne Ferm 4
20. Edgardo Galindo 4
21. Anna Andreussi 4
22. Emil Axelsson 2
23. Pavel Dresler 2
24. Fernando Musano 2
25. Diego Cagnotti 2
26. Kaj Lindström 1
27. Stéphane Prevot 1
28. Lorenzo Granai 1
Manufacturers’ Championship
1. Volkswagen Motorsport 343
2. Hyundai Motorsport 177
3. Citroën Total Abu Dhabi WRT 164
4. M-Sport World Rally Team 148
5. Volkswagen Motorsport II 76
6. Hyundai Mobis World Rally Team 49
Jipocar Czech National Team 43
8. F.W.R.T. 9

FIA World Rally Championship (WRC),
Rally Australia – TV broadcast

Western Europe
Andorra (Canal +), Austria (ORF, Servus TV, Sport1,, RTL), Belgium (Canal +, RTBF), Cyprus (Cyta Vision), Europe (MOTORS TV), Finland (YLE, Nelonen), France (Canal +, France TV, Léquipe 21), Germany (Sport1, Servus TV,, Sky, RTL), Greece (OTE), Italy (RAI, Fox Sports), Ireland (BT Sport, itv4), Liechtenstein (Sport1, Servus TV, RTL), Luxembourg (Canal +, Servus TV, Sport1, RTL), Monaco (Canal +, France TV, Léquipe 21), Norway (TV2), Portugal (Sport TV, RTP), Spain (Canal +, TV3), Sweden (SVT), Switzerland (Canal +, Sport1, Servus TV, RTL), UK (BT Sport, itv4), Wales (S4C)

Eastern Europe
Belarus (Auto Plus), Bosnia and Herzigovina (Arena TV), Bulgaria (BNT), Croatia (Arena TV), Czech Republic (Czech TV, O2, Sport 5), Estonia (Estonia TV, Auto Plus), Kososvo (Arena TV), Latvia (Auto Plus), Lithuania (Auto Plus), Macedonia (Arena TV), Moldova (Auto Plus), Montenegro (Arena TV), Poland (Polsat, TVP, tvn), Romania (Dolce Sport), Russia (Auto Plus), Serbia (Arena TV), Slovakia (Sport5), Slovenia (Arena TV), Turkey (NTV), Ukraine (First Automotive Channel, Auto Plus)

Middle East and Africa
Algeria (Dubai Sports Channel), Angola (Canal +, Sport TV), Bahrain (Dubai Sports Channel), Benin (Canal +), Botswana (Canal +), Burkina Faso (Canal +), Burundi (Canal +), Cameroon (Canal +), Cape Verde (Canal +, Sport TV), Djibouti (Dubai Sports Channel), Egypt (Dubai Sports Channel), Equatorial Guinea (Canal +), Eritrea (Dubai Sports Channel), Ethopia (Canal +), Gabon (Canal +), Gambia (Canal +), Guinea (Canal +), Guinea-Bissau (Canal +), Iran (Dubai Sports Channel), Iraq (Dubai Sports Channel), Israel (Charlton), Ivory Coast (Canal +), Jordan (Dubai Sports Channel), Kenya (Canal +), Kuwait (Dubai Sports Channel), Lebanon (Dubai Sports Channel), Libya (Dubai Sports Channel), Madagascar (Canal +), Malawi (Canal +), Mali (Canal +), Mauritania (Canal +, Dubai Sports Channel), Mauritius (Canal +), Morocco (Dubai Sports Channel), Mozambique (Canal +, Sport TV), Namibia (Canal +), Nigeria (Canal +), Niger (Canal +), Oman (Dubai Sports Channel), Pakistan (Neo Sports), Palestine (Dubai Sports Channel), Qatar (Dubai Sports Channel), Sao Tome (Canal +), Saudi Arabia (Dubai Sports Channel), Senegal (Canal +), Seychelles (Canal +), Sierra Leone (Canal +), Somalia (Dubai Sports Channel), Sudan (Dubai Sports Channel), Syria (Dubai Sports Channel), Tanzania (Canal +), Togo (Canal +), Tunisia (Dubai Sports Channel), Uganda (Canal +), United Arab Emirates (Dubai Sports Channel), Yemen (Dubai Sports Channel), Zambia (Canal +), Zimbabwe (Canal +)

Asia Pacific
Armenia (Auto Plus), Australia (Fox Sports), American Samoa (MAV TV), Azerbeijan (Auto Plus), Baker Island (MAV TV), Bangladesh (NEO Sports), Bhutan (NEO Sports), China (CCTV 5, PPTV), Guam (MAV TV), Georgia (Auto Plus), Howland Islands (MAV TV), India (NEO Sports), Kazakhstan (Auto Plus), Kyrgyzstan (Auto Plus), Japan (J-Sport), Jarvis Island (MAV TV), Kingman Reef (MAV TV), Malaysia (Astro), Micronesia (MAV TV), Midway Islands (MAV TV), Navassa Island (MAV TV), Nepal (NEO Sports), New Zealand (Sky Sports), Norther Marianas (MAV TV), Palau (MAV TV), South Korea (SBS Sport), Sri Lanka (NEO Sports), Tajikistan (Auto Plus), Thailand (Truevision), Turkmenistan (Auto Plus), U.S. Virgin Islands (MAV TV), Uzbekistan (Auto Plus), Wake Islands (MAV TV)

North and Latin America
Argentina (Channel 12, Fox Sports), Bahamas (MAV TV), Barbados (MAV TV), Belize (MAV TV), Bolivia (Fox Sports), Brazil (Fox Sports), Chile (Fox Sports), Colombia (Fox Sports), Costa Rica (Fox Sports), Cuba (Fox Sports), Dominican Republic (Fox Sports), Ecuador (Fox Sports), El Salvador (Fox Sports), Guatemala (Fox Sports), Haiti (MAV TV), Honduras (Fox Sports), Jamaica (MAV TV), Mexico (Fox Sports, TV4), Nicaragua (Fox Sports), Panama (Fox Sports), Paraguay (Fox Sports, Telefuturo), Peru (Fox Sports), Puerto Rico (MAV TV), Trinidad & Tobago (MAV TV, Channel 12), Uruguay (Channel 12), USA (MAV TV, Fox Sports), Venezuela (Fox Sports)











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Rally Report Magazine Argentina 15 años




This post is also available in: English (Inglés) Deutsch (Alemán) Español




30 September 2015

Chris Atkinson has won the latest round of the Chinese Rally Championship in the VW Golf SCRC. Atkinson won comfortably by a minute and 40 seconds from Mark Higgins in the Subaru and Manfred Stohl in a Citroen DS3.

Chen Dean in the second Golf was fifth with Li ninth in the third car.

That makes it three wins from four events for Atkinson as the Championship heads to the next round Longyou at the end of October. Longyou was the debut event for the VW Golf SCRC last year when Atkinson to its maiden win.












Cedric Journel / Dongwei Zhang
Media & Comunication
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Rally Report Magazine Argentina 15 años




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La leyenda del rally Sébastien Loeb se une al “Dream Team” de Peugeot-Total.

Sebastien Loeb poses for a portrait in Peugeot Sport workshop, France, on September 21, 2015
Sébastien Loeb, el mejor piloto de rally de todos los tiempos, se enfrentará al mayor reto de su carrera al unirse por primera vez al equipo de Peugeot en el legendario Dakar del próximo mes de enero.


29 Septiembre 2015

El nueve veces campeón del WRC y plusmarquista del Pikes Peak se ha unido al equipo de Peugeot 2008DKR junto a Carlos Sainz para el Rally du Maroc del próximo mes (del 3 al 9 de octubre) antes de hacer frente al mayor reto de este deporte, el Dakar, durante 13 días en Argentina y Bolivia en 2016. Junto a él en Sudamérica también estarán Stéphane Peterhansel y Cyril Despres completando así el “dream team” de pilotos de Peugeot-Total.

El francés de 41 años, Sébastien Loeb, uno de los pilotos con más éxito de la historia de los deportes de motor con un porcentaje de victorias sin precedentes del 46,2% en el WRC dijo: “Descubrí los deportes de motor cuando tenía 18 años y empecé a competir en mis primeros rallys. Desde entonces me han interesado todo tipo de deportes de motor y el Dakar es uno de ellos. Creo que es un gran reto competir y conducir en el desierto”.

“El Dakar es completamente diferente a las carreras que hago en este momento. va a ser muy larga, más de dos semanas, y necesitas tener aguante para cuidar del conductor y del coche. Es una carrera con un enfoque distinto pero lo descubriré en enero”.

Hasta entonces, Loeb se unirá a Sainz en Marruecos para su debut en el competitivo Cross Country, aunque ya pilotó el rival de Peugeot a principios de año. Para Loeb ésta será una reunión muy especial pues ya fue compañero de equipo de Sainz durante su primera temporada completa en el Mundial de Rallys del 2003, hasta que el español se tuvo que retirar del WRC de 2004. En Marruecos Sainz pilotará el último Peugeot 2008DKR16 mientras que Loeb pilotará un coche con especificaciones de 2015.

“Cuando probé el PEUGEOT 2008DKR en junio me sorprendió muchísimo y por supuesto ha cambiado mucho desde entonces”, dijo Loeb -que en la actualidad está compitiendo en el Campeonato Mundial de Turismos de la FIA con Citroen.

“Lo que más me impactó fue lo diferente que es conducir el coche del Dakar, era una experiencia completamente nueva para mí. En el WRC acostumbro a rodear obstáculos pero con este coche puedes simplemente pasar por encima, ¡y cuesta tener la suficiente confianza en uno mismo para creer que puedes hacerlo!”

“ También estoy acostumbrado a tener notas de copiloto muy detalladas pero en el Cross Country tienes que abrirte paso e improvisar tu ruta. Esta, además, es la primera vez que he pilotado diferentes tipos de coche diesel en una competición por lo que tengo que aprender mucho pero tengo muchas ganas de hacerlo”.

Además de haber ganado más rallys, etapas especiales y campeonatos que cualquier otro piloto, Sébastien Loeb también se ha convertido en el “Rey del Peak” al batir el record del Pikes Peak Hillclimb con Peugeot y Red Bull hace dos años en América. Un triunfo épico que ya forma parte de la historia legendaria de los deportes de motor.

Ahora forma parte del mejor equipo que se haya enfrentado jamás al Dakar. Tal y como dijo el 11 veces campeón del Dakar Stéphane Peterhansel: “Sébastien Loeb es un referente del motor. Hay muy poco que yo o cualquier otro le pueda enseñar”.

El cinco veces campeón de motos Cyril Despres añadió: “Desde que cambié las dos ruedas por cuatro, la experiencia no ha hecho más que mejorar. Y saber que ahora Sébastien se une al equipo la remata aún más”.

El dos veces campeón del WRC y campeón del Dakar en 2010 Carlos Sainz, que será una vez más el compañero de Loeb en Marruecos dijo: “No tengo nada más que decir sobre Sébastien que no haya dicho ya. Por supuesto que el rally raid va a ser una nueva aventura para él, pero va a ser capaz de adaptarse sin problemas. Como yo mismo he podido comprobar aprende muy rápido”.

“El Dakar es algo que me llama, es una gran aventura”, añadió Loeb, quien ya dominó el Pikes Peak y el WTCC. “El rally en Marruecos me mostrará lo que es realmente el Cross Country, así que para mí esta es una oportunidad fantástica para aprender, en especial al lado de unos compañeros tan buenos”.

Tal y como pasó con sus nueve títulos mundiales y sus 78 victorias en el WRC hasta la fecha, Loeb tendrá como copiloto al campeón mundial de deportes de motor monegasco Daniel Elena. Marruecos marcará la vuelta de la pareja con más éxito jamás vista en la historia del motor que emprende una nueva aventura juntos tras 17 gloriosos años en los rallys.

Al igual que Loeb, el copiloto de 42 años Elena nunca ha competido antes en Cross Country, pero se ha preparado a fondo para las exigencias de la navegación más dura del mundo, en la que los equipos tienen que reaccionar rápidamente para conquistar el terreno offroad más sobrecogedor. Cuentan además con la ayuda de un sofisticado sistema de GPS que les guiará de punto a punto.

El director deportivo de Peugeot Bruno Famin comentó: “ Sébastien fue impresionante desde que se sentó en el coche, como ya sabíamos tras haber trabajado con él anteriormente. Adoptó ese enfoque calculado que tanto le caracteriza para entender el coche paso a paso, pero después su habilidad natural se encargó del resto. Tras mejorar diferentes aspectos del coche desde la última vez que estuvimos en el Dakar, el fichaje de Sébastien Loeb es la pieza que le faltaba al puzzle”.


The 2008 DKR 16 in Peugeot Sport workshop, France, on September 21, 2015








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Rally Report Magazine Argentina 15 años




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Rally Legend Sébastien Loeb joins “D-ream TEAM Peugeot-Total”.

Sebastien Loeb and Daniel Elena pose for a portrait during the Peugeot test in Erfoud, Morocco on September 16, 2015

Sebastien Loeb and Daniel Elena pose for a portrait during the Peugeot test in Erfoud, Morocco on September 16, 2015

29 September 2015

Rally Legend Sébastien Loeb joins “D-ream TEAM Peugeot-Total” © Flavien Duhamel/Red Bull Content Pool

Velizy-Villacoublay, France
Tuesday, 29 September 2015

Sébastien Loeb, the greatest rally driver ever, will take on one of the biggest challenges of his illustrious career when he lines up as part of Peugeot’s dream team at the legendary Dakar in January for the first time.

The nine-time World Rally Championship winner and Pikes Peak record-holder has joined Peugeot’s 2008DKR line-up alongside Carlos Sainz for next month’s Rallye du Maroc (October 3-9) before facing the sport’s toughest challenge, the Dakar, over 13 days in Argentina and Bolivia in 2016. Joining him in South America will also be Stéphane Peterhansel and Cyril Despres, completing Team Peugeot Total’s dream team driver line-up.

The 41-year old Loeb, one of the most successful drivers in the history of motorsports, with an unprecedented 46.2% wins-to-starts ratio in WRC, said: “I only discovered motorsports when I was 18 and I started competing in my first rallies. Since then I have been interested in all types of different motorsports and Dakar is one of them. I think it’s a great challenge to go and compete there and drive in the desert.

“The Dakar is completely different from the racing I’m doing at the moment. It will be very long, over two weeks, and you need to have the endurance to look after the driver and the car. It’s another approach to racing but I’ll discover that in January.”

Before then, Loeb will line up with Sainz in Morocco next week for his competitive Cross Country debut – although he already tested Peugeot’s Dakar challenger in the country earlier this year. For Loeb, this will be a very special reunion: he was previously team-mates with Sainz for his very first full season in the World Rally Championship in 2003, until the Spaniard decided to end his WRC career at the end of 2004. In Morocco, Sainz will drive the latest PEUGEOT 2008DKR16 whereas Loeb will drive a 2015-specification car.

“When I tried the PEUGEOT 2008DKR out in June, it was immediately very impressive for me – and of course it has changed a lot since then,” said Loeb, who is currently competing in the FIA WTCC with Citroen.

“What struck me most of all is how the Dakar car was a completely new experience: in the WRC I have been used to going round obstacles but with this car you can just drive straight over them, and it takes some time to have the confidence to believe it!

“I’ve also been used to having very detailed pace notes: in Cross Country, you have to find the road for yourself and improvise your route. And this is actually the first time I have driven any type of diesel car in competition too. So there is a lot for me to learn, but I am eager to find out more.”

As well as winning more rallies, special stages and championships than any other driver, Sébastien Loeb also became ‘King of the Peak’ when he pulverised the Pikes Peak hill climb record with Peugeot and Red Bull two years ago in America: an epic feat that is already remembered as a legendary part of motorsport history.

Now he forms part of the greatest team ever to tackle the Dakar. As 11-time Dakar winner Stéphane Peterhansel said: “Sébastien Loeb is a reference in motorsport. There’s very little that I, or anybody else, can teach him.”

Five-time bike winner Cyril Despres added: “Since I made the switch from two wheels to four, the experience has got better and better. And to see Sébastien arrive in the team now, everything is complete.”

Two-time WRC champion and Dakar 2010 winner Carlos Sainz, who will be Loeb’s team-mate once more in Morocco, concluded: “There is nothing more I can say about Sébastien that his career hasn’t said already. Of course rally raid will be a new adventure for him, but he has every capacity to adapt to it with no problem. As I have seen for myself in the past, he is a quick learner in everything he does.

“Dakar is something that appeals to me; it is a huge adventure,” added Loeb, who has already mastered rallying, Pikes Peak and the World Touring Car Championship. “The rally in Morocco will give me a very interesting idea of what Cross Country is all about, so this is a fantastic opportunity for me to learn; particularly alongside such successful team-mates.”

Just as has been the case throughout his nine world titles and 78 WRC victories to date, Loeb will be co-driven by Monaco’s motorsport world champion: Daniel Elena. Morocco will mark the comeback of the most successful pairing ever seen in the history of motorsport, as they start a new adventure together following 17 magnificent years in rallying.

Like Loeb, the 42-year-old Elena has never competed in Cross Country before, but he has undergone intensive training to prepare him for the demands of some of the most challenging navigation in the world, where crews have to think instantly on their feet to conquer the daunting off-road landscape. They are aided by sophisticated GPS equipment, guiding their route from waypoint to waypoint.

Peugeot Sport director Bruno Famin commented: “Sébastien was impressive from the moment he first sat in the car, as we knew would be the case after having had the privilege of working with him before. He took his usual measured approached to understand the car step by step: from there his natural ability took over. Having improved the car in several different areas since we were last at the Dakar, the signing of Sébastien Loeb is the final piece in the puzzle.”











Cécile Estenave
Peugeot Sport France

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