Sebastien Loeb and Daniel Elena in a Citroen DS3 WRC car in 2012
Frenchman Sébastien Loeb together with the aid of his co-driver Daniel Elena has won his ninth and final World Rally Championship title on Sunday, and in the process earned Citroen its eighth Constructors’ title. Competing in this weekend’s Rallye de France, Loeb was easily able to hold off Ford driver Jari-Matti Latvala who also managed to show impressive form over the weekend.
Loeb will be back in WRC next year, though will be tackling only a partial racing program due to start at the Rallye Monte-Carlo and likely to include races in Sweden, France, Germany and Argentina. Having won almost half the races he’s competed in, Loeb is now looking for a new challenge.
That new challenge could come in the form of an entry into the World Touring Car Championship, which Citroen recently confirmed it was interesting in campaigning--with its star driver Loeb in tow.
In related news, Red Bull has been confirmed as the new promoter of WRC by the World Motor Sport Council in Paris. Red Bull will partner with German firm Sportsman Media to promote the sport from next year onwards.
With a number of key players pulling out of WRC over the past several years, interest in the sport has dropped off dramatically. WRC’s previous promoter North One Sport filed for bankruptcy last year, which led to speculation that future championships may have to be shortened.
With a number of automakers either entering or returning to WRC in the coming years, brands such as Hyundai, MINI and Volkswagen, and now with Red Bull handling the promotion, we could see the sport return to its glory days when names like Marcus Grönholm, Richard Burns and Colin McRae were making headlines.