A few months ago I had the pleasure of talking to up-and-coming Welsh rally wizard Elfyn Evans and I asked him how he and the other drivers in the World Rally Championship felt now that the legendary Sébastien Loeb had moved on to other forms of motor sport. You’d think they would be delighted he’d gone but in fact Loeb is revered amongst these star drivers and sorely missed.
I wonder if they will feel the same now that it has been revealed that nine-time World Rally Champions, Sébastien Loeb and co-driver Daniel Elena, are to return to competitive action in a DS3 WRC at the Rallye Monte-Carlo (22-25 January) – the opening round of the 2015 World Rally Championship and an event they have won seven times before. Fortunately or unfortunately depending upon your point of view, this will be a one-off appearance at this prestigious rally in support the launch of the DS badge as a premium brand.
From Sweden to Australia, and taking in the likes of Argentina, the WRC is undoubtedly the greatest challenge in modern-day motor sport due to the variety of road surfaces and weather conditions encountered. With two world titles and 23 wins under its belt, Citroen DS3 WRC has one of the best competitive records of the cars currently racing in the WRC.
The two DS3 WRCs nominated to score points in the Manufacturers’ championship will be driven by Kris Meeke/Paul Nagle – already confirmed as a works crew for the full season – and a couple of familiar faces! Leading specialists at a rally that they have won no fewer than seven times, Sébastien Loeb and Daniel Elena will take on the challenge once again as they return to rally more than a year after the end of their shared career.
Often unpredictable due to the weather conditions, Rallye Monte-Carlo will provide the Franco-Monegasque pair with the perfect opportunity to use their immense experience. Both modest and excited when talking about the challenge ahead, the pair’s one-off return will undoubtedly thrill the many fans who had been hoping to see them compete together once again in a rally. Only a couple of months to wait.
PS: With the huge success and interest generated by the end of season Rally Wales we live in hope that television will do a better job. Not so long ago, when Rallye Monte Carlo was listed in the IRC (intercontinental Rally Championship) Eurosport did some great late night live coverage. Since the event has been promoted to WRC, BT got their hands on the rights and their coverage has been patchy. ITV4 and Motors TV did highlight shows – which is better than nothing – but how about some proper coverage for next year folks?