M-Sport expected Loubet to give up in Monte

Pierre-Louis Loubet completed three whole stages without power-steering, and needed no convincing to do so


M-Sport team principal Richard Milliner didn’t expect Pierre-Louis Loubet to continue after he picked up a power-steering issue on the Friday of Monte Carlo Rally.

The power-steering gave up on Loubet’s Puma Rally1 on SS5, the final test before the afternoon loop, but with no midday service on Monte, Loubet was left with only two options.

He could either retire on the spot, have the car repaired and restart on Saturday, or try and force through the pain and drag his car through the final three stages of the day.

Loubet opted for the latter and succeeded in making it back to service having completed all three of the afternoon stages, and although he lost a considerable amount of time, it was far less than the penalties he’d have received for retiring.

WRC 2023

When asked by DirtFish whether the team had asked Loubet to try and push on, Milliner explained that he just assumed Loubet would retire on the spot.

“It’s a good job he’s a body builder! Fair play he did a hell of a job,” Millener said.

“I didn’t think he’d carry on.

“He just got on with it. I think it’s the right decision as he lost less time than he would have, but it would have been hard work.”

Loubet was heard groaning in the cockpit at various stages as his arm muscles screamed out at him in pain from trying to turn the Puma, and Milliner had plenty of sympathy knowing just how hard it is to turn a rally car that has no power-steering.

“Yeah… it’s impossible,” he said.

“It’s solid. You’ve got a bit more give when you’re moving, but any kind of tight corner [it’s hell].

“The seating position you’re in, you’ve just not got the leverage round the corners, and the wheels are smaller competition wheels.

“On a road car they’d be a bit bigger.”

Asked how his arms were after the rally, Loubet told DirtFish: “Great, I just need to rest a bit!”