Ο 7 φορές παγκόσμιος πρωταθλητής Sebastien Loeb θα συνεχίσει για ακόμη 2 χρόνια στην Citroen αφού χθες υπέγραψε νέο διετές συμβόλαιο με την Γαλλική εταιρία έως το τέλος του 2013. Ο Loeb βάζει έτσι τέλος στα σχέδια των Γερμανών της VW που τον ήθελαν όσο τίποτε για να οδηγήσει το νέο Polo WRC.
Ο Γάλλος σε δηλώσεις του είπε ότι προτίμησε να μείνει στην Citroen αφού από του χρόνου οι κανονισμοί στις ειδικές του WRC αλλάζουν και ήθελε να είναι σε μια ομάδα αλλά και σε ένα αυτοκίνητο που εμπιστεύεται. Ο Loeb αρχικά είχε σκεφτεί να εγκαταλείψει την ενεργό δράση φέτος αλλά αποφάσισε να τρέξει τουλάχιστον για ακόμη 1 έτος, μιας και στο νέο συμβόλαιο υπάρχει η δυνατότητα να σταματήσει αν το επιθυμεί στα τέλη του 2012. Σίγουρο όμως το θεωρεί ότι δεν θα τρέχει στο WRC το 2014.
Το 8ο πρωτάθλημα φαίνεται ότι είναι κοντά φέτος με τον Γάλλο ίσως να έχει βάλει στόχο τα 10 πρωταθλήματα προτού εγκαταλείψει την ενεργό δράση στο WRC. Δηλώσεις του Loeb και των ανθρώπων της Citroen στη συνέχεια.
[Πηγή: Citroen, Sebastien Loeb.com]
SEBASTIEN LOEB CONTINUES HIS CAREER WITH CITROËN
Citroën and Sébastien Loeb have decided to continue their fantastic sporting adventure together and conquer new victories in the 2012 and 2013 FIA World Rally Championship (WRC).
Seven-time world champion Sébastien Loeb, who has been with Citroën since 2001, has decided to continue his collaboration with the French make for another two seasons, and fight for more victories at the wheel of the DS3 WRC with his faithful co-driver, Daniel Elena.
Loeb is already bubbling with enthusiasm about this new challenge: “With the arrival of other manufacturers in the championship, the competition is going to get tougher in the years to come. All the more so with the rule changes concerning the starting order coming in in 2012 as all the drivers will be fighting on a level playing field. To take the fight to them I’m putting my trust in Citroën, a team I know inside out and the DS3 WRC, the car that I helped set up with Citroën Racing.”
For Frédéric Banzet, the Citroën General Manager, “Sébastien Loeb is a great ambassador for the make. Today, his image and ours are intimately linked. He incarnates the daring, the sporting spirit and the love of competition, values that are very dear to us. We’re proud of his loyalty to Citroën, and of the fact that’s he’s continuing his career with the team that’s supported him since his debut.”
The future with Citroën !
Seb bet’s on red!
After a long discussion during which he went through all the options, the seven-time world champion decided to continue his career in the WRC and to renew his confidence in Citroën Racing, his present team. Here are his first thoughts!
You have given much thought to the future of your career. The desire to continue in the WRC has remained the strongest, why? It’s clear that I have been asking the question for a while, to stop, to continue, a change of discipline… I was going through the options, it must be confessed, still with a desire for a new discipline… But between the say and do, this is not the same. It is not easy to say stop, to say to rallying, well, now it’s over…
And then with regard to my results, you cannot say I’m on the down. I am leading the championship. While it is not easy this year, I’m still ahead, and I hope to remain so. So I thought it was a shame not to continue. I’m still young, and my motivation remains intact for the win!
At times you seemed very close to stopping. Do you have the impression you have come full circle regarding the WRC? Sure, I’ve won seven World Championship titles, all with Citroën. At one point, actually, I wanted a change of scenery. But as I said, between saying and thinking and actually doing it is very different! I thought of new challenges, but ultimately, I am staying… and that’s fine. I am relieved to have made this decision and to continue.
Did the rule change affect your thinking? It is not necessarily essential, but it changes the game. I was pretty excited this year with how to manage the races, with Ogier always behind me so that I have to sweep the road. I always used to have a team behind me, who supported me and I admit at one point I started to have doubts. But the rules are like that and fortunately they are changing next year, so these problems will be avoided. What I want is to have a team that support me, with whom I am happy to share the victories.
How much did your familiar and friendly environment affect your decision? For them, was the trend more for stopping or to continue? Rather to continue… As I thought but in which discipline? Rally, DTM, Endurance, was more the question… Then after careful consideration, I thought that the DTM or the endurance races will have to wait a little…
Which team did you have contact with? Who were the two finalists? I had a proposal from VW, which I must admit had my full attention. I think this is the proposal that convinced me to stay in rallying. I have been in contact with Carlos Sainz, with whom I still have a very good relationship and the challenge would be to develop a new car and to try to win a title with a new manufacturer…
The means of VW are very important, superior to Citroën that is clear. For them testing is not limited. I would test on every surface for the WRC next year, without having the pleasure of the competition and also without the certainty of having a car at the end of the day. In the end, my schedule was not going to be very different either.
What has finally tipped the balance in Citroën’s favour? With Citroën I evolved, learned a lot, and I won my titles and did not want to hurt the team. They would feel that I had betrayed them by going to another manufacturer. My relationship with the team, with the management of the PSA, the engineers, the mechanics has always been excellent and I did not want to spoil everything.
What is your new contract in the WRC? 2 years.
Apart from the WRC, which options have you pushed more seriously? Sure I was tempted by the DTM. I like the discipline. The cars are not only beautiful, but powerful. And a new challenge attracted me a lot. But we’ll see later!
Scores of fans will be happy with your decision. Does this matter to you? Of course it matters! They have always supported me and I would not want to disappoint them either. I have had a lot of encouragement for me to continue, even if ultimately the decision was mine. I hope to give them a lot of pleasure.