Nine-time World Rally Champion Sébastien Loeb will contest the Azores Rally for the first time this month, at the wheel of a Toksport WRT Škoda Fabia RS Rally2.
The 49-year-old, who has been without a WRC program so far this season, will line up against Andreas Mikkelsen and Ole Christian Veiby for the three-day event on São Miguel Island.
Loeb will be co-driven by his partner Laurène Godey for the event, with whom he won the Rallye du Var in 2019 at the wheel of a Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC.
“[I am] super happy to be taking the start of the Azores Rally for the first time in my career,” Loeb said in a social media post.
“This week and atypical event will certainly be fun, with Laurène in the right-hand seat and discovering the Škoda Fabia RS Rally2.”
The Azores Rally had been a constant fixture on the ERC and Intercontinental Rally Challenge calendars in recent years but was left off the schedule for this season as the championship’s promoter opted to cut down on travel costs for competitors.
The Azores Rally will host the Tour European Rally (TER) Series as well as the Azores Rally Championship and Azores Gravel Rally Trophy on the weekend of March 30 – April 1.
Following the ceremonial start on Thursday March 30, the event will begin in earnest with a qualifying stage and shakedown on the Friday, before the opening leg which two passes through Feteiras and Sete Cidades.
The second leg is a full day’s action and will include loops of Tronqueira, Graminhais and Ribeira Grande before finishing in the city of Ponta Delgada.