Toyota among Loeb’s 2021 options for Dakar return

Nine-time WRC champion Sébastien Loeb has Dakar at the top of his priority list, with Toyota and Prodrive as potential options

Sebastien Loeb

Sébastien Loeb’s Dakar plans will be made clear in the coming weeks, with the Frenchman admitting he’s still talking with teams including Toyota Gazoo Racing and Prodrive.

Loeb has already confirmed to DirtFish that he will focus his efforts on January’s Saudi Arabian marathon event rather than hunting for another World Rally Championship seat to replace his two-year stint at Hyundai.

Loeb missed this year’s Dakar – the first to be run in the Middle East – but is determined to be back in 2021.

Asked by DirtFish if Toyota and Prodrive were on his list of options, he replied: “I don’t want to say too much today but yes, and I also have some other options. I have good options and in the coming weeks I will be able to talk more about the plans.”

Toyota has been seen as the most obvious, with Fernando Alonso stepping down from the TGR Hilux and creating a space with the South African-based team.


Photo: Toyota Gazoo Racing

There has also been building speculation that Loeb could be on the verge of a multi-level Toyota agreement which could place him in a Yaris WRC on selected WRC rounds in 2021.

Prodrive is another strong option, as the British-based firm is preparing the BRX, a 3.5-liter twin-turbo, four-wheel-drive desert racer. Two factory cars are expected to be run by the Banbury firm, with two-time Dakar winner Nani Roma already announced in one of those seats.

X-Raid’s Mini outfit – the team with which Loeb’s former Citroën team-mate and early WRC mentor Carlos Sainz won this year’s event – could be another potential berth.

Loeb has competed on four South American Dakars, twice finishing on the podium.

Words:David Evans

Photography:Flavien Duhamel / Red Bull Content Pool, Toyota Gazoo Racing