Loeb to decide 2021 Dakar and WRC future in coming weeks

Nine-time WRC champion is not ruling out being in the series next year, although a reduced program is more likely


The World Rally Championship’s most successful driver Sébastien Loeb says he will decide in “around two weeks” whether he fancies another crack at the Dakar Rally, but isn’t totally ruling out contesting more WRC rallies beyond this weekend’s Rally of Turkey.

Loeb – who won nine WRC titles and 79 rallies with Citroën – is thought to be making his WRC swansong in Turkey, with Dani Sordo confirmed to drive the third Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC in Italy and Craig Breen expected to take the seat for Ypres Rally Belgium.

He had signed up to drive for Hyundai last year and was meant to do a six-round program in 2020, but COVID-19 and a poor performance on Rally Monte Carlo have restricted him to just that event and Turkey.

“[Somebody else is in car] in Sardinia and Ypres, so for the rest nothing is really decided. We know that maybe Monza could be in the championship also, but it’s not decided. It could be [my last one]. It’s not clear,” Loeb admitted on Thursday ahead of Rally of Turkey.

“[But] I don’t think that I will do the same season next year.

“Maybe focus to another plan, to another challenge, to go back to the Dakar. I don’t say that I will do no world championship rallies next year, but at the moment nothing is clear about it. But for sure I will not do six rallies like last year.”

Sebastien Loeb

Photo: Flavien Duhamel/Red Bull Content Pool

Loeb competed in the Dakar from 2016 to 2019, first for the works Peugeot team and then as a privateer in one of its cars after the plug was pulled on its manufacturer program.

Despite showing great speed on the event, Loeb has never won it so it remains an unticked box on his motorsport CV.

When asked if he could do the Dakar in collaboration with 2019 winner Toyota, Loeb said: “That’s a good question, but at the moment I cannot answer your question. I think I will have to make my decision soon, but at the moment nothing is really decided.

“Around two weeks’ time, we should decide something. Then we will have to start testing.”

Words:Luke Barry

Images:Hyundai Motorsport GmbH, Flavien Duhamel/Red Bull Content Pool