SÉBASTIEN LOEB WAS IMPRESSED BY THE PERFORMANCE OF THE LATEST GENERATION WORLD RALLY CARS DURING HIS COMEBACK TEST WITH CITROËN RACING ON TUESDAY.
The nine-time world champion drove the French manufacturer’s C3 on asphalt and told wrc.com afterwards: “The feeling was really good. It was impressive how fast it is in the fast corners compared to an old World Rally Car.”
Loeb was partnered by regular co-driver Daniel Elena for the test in the Moselle region of France, near Strasbourg. After heavy rain in the morning, conditions improved in the afternoon to allow Loeb to experience the car on dry roads also.
“The feeling on the dry Tarmac at the end was really fast. I do not have a lot of cars to compare, but compared to the old WRCs, everything is a little bit better,” he said.
“It was difficult to get the feeling in the wet conditions in the morning. It was raining a lot and the tyres were really hard for those conditions. The car is more nervous than an old WRC, so that made it quite complicated, but at the end of the day the feeling in the dry was very good.”
Loeb provided plenty of feedback to Citroën Racing team principal Yves Matton and his engineers and urged the team to work on the C3’s driveability.
“The first feeling was that it was a bit of a racing car on a rally stage. When it’s full dry, it’s fast and efficient, but in tricky conditions it would be nice to improve a bit the driveability and make it easier to drive,” explained the 43-year-old.
Loeb denied the test could be the start of a WRC comeback with Citroën, for whom he dominated the championship between 2004 and 2012. He scored 78 wins and his last appearance was at the 2015 Rallye Monte-Carlo.
“The plan was just to come here to test the car. For me it was a good opportunity to discover the new WRC cars and for Citroën it was an opportunity to have my comments about the car, with my experience of general rally.
“At the moment we do not have any plan for the future,” added Loeb, who currently drives with PSA stablemate Peugeot in world rallycross and cross-country rallies.