Sébastien Loeb has crashed out of the fourth stage of Rallye du Maroc, the latest round of the World Rally-Raid Championship.
Loeb was lying third overnight on the event in his Bahrain Raid Xtreme Hunter behind 2023 W2RC champion Nasser Al-Attiyah.
The nine-time World Rally Champion was fastest on splits through the Zagora – Merzouga stage at the time of the incident, having passed both Al-Attiyah’s Toyota Hilux and the Audi of Mattias Ekström.
“I catch Nasser very early,” explained Loeb. “I think he had a puncture before, so he changed the wheel.
“I was in his dust but he was already in the dust of Ekström. So I tried to catch because I knew if I could pass in front of Nasser it’s already three minutes. I got him a few times on the Sentinel [driver alert system], he didn’t let me pass. Then finally he let me pass.
“And then I was driving fast. It was a very tricky navigation point where Ekström missed the point – he went straight. Then we passed Ekström, so I didn’t have to overtake him.
ℹ️ LOEB RIGHT BEHIND AL ATTIYAH IN THE OVERALL | T1
🚗💨 @SebastienLoeb and Fabian Lurquin (Bahrain Raid Xtreme) are in phenomenal form today. The Franco-Belgian pair is leading the FIA special at km 188, but Guerlain Chicherit and Alex Winocq (Overdrive Racing) have yet to go… pic.twitter.com/jmNmwbCB0H
— World Rally-Raid Championship 🚗 🏍 (@OfficialW2RC) October 17, 2023
“Then I was first on the track, doing my job and trying to keep the rhythm. I didn’t know if the others are following behind. I didn’t know if he’s 20 meter behind or two kilometer behind, I had no idea. So I tried to keep the rhythm and it was again a very tricky point for the first car.
“All the motorbikes went on this line, it was… the line was not 100% correct, we were 10 meters too much on the right. But the bikes jumped over the hole and I just saw it when I was in it, so…”
Loeb confirmed that he and co-driver Fabian Lurquin were both unhurt in the incident.
He said: “We both are OK. The impact was not so hard. I think we were in second gear a bit looking for the way to go.”
The Bahrain Raid Xtreme team is currently waiting for Loeb’s car to get back to service where they will assess the damage with the intention of it restarting the event tomorrow.