Loeb announces first rallycross plan since World RX fire

The nine-time WRC champion will drive a Hyundai in the French series at Lohéac next month

Sebastien Loeb

Sébastien Loeb will make a one-off appearance in the French Rallycross championship at the wheel of a Hyundai i20 at Lohéac next month.

The nine-time World Rally champion and three-time World Rallycross Championship event winner is currently without a drive in World RX after his Special One team lost both of its Lancia cars and a truck in a fire at Lydden Hill in July.

Loeb, who first raced at Lohéac in the European Rallycross Championship with Peugeot a decade ago, will race alongside current points leader – and former Hansen Motorsport team-mate – Davy Jeanney for PGRX, run by ex-rallycross driver Patrick Guillerme.

“When Davy asked me to drive with him in the team for Lohéac, it didn’t take me very long before accepting,” said Loeb.

“I got in touch with a few people familiar with the French championship and the PGRX team and I recalled some of my experiences from previous participations at Lohéac and I said: ‘let’s do it!’

“Lohéac is a flagship event in French motorsport and the atmosphere produced by the public is incredible. To race in rallycross again after the events of the past month in World RX will be a strange taste for me and obviously all my thoughts will be with the Special One Racing team from the moment I start the first heat.

“From the sporting perspective, when I saw Davy at the top of the championship, I said to myself that I am in the right team to achieve a good result, even though I know that the French championship is one of the toughest, I can’t wait to get started.”

Sebastien Loeb

PGRX team boss Charles Guillerme believes the addition of Loeb will serve as a boost to not only his title-leading driver Jeanney, but French rallycross in general.

“Bringing Davy and Sébastien together in our team at our favorite rallycross event is a dream come true,” Guillerme added.

“It’s been a very good season for the team, so we thought ‘why not?’. Things then went rather quickly, and we are extremely happy today to welcome an exceptional driver like Sébastien to the French championship. We’re looking forward to getting a strong result and showing our know-how.”

Loeb is one of several World RX drivers taking part in other rallycross championships, while Rallycross Promoter continues its investigation into the root cause of the devastating fire at Lydden.

Five-time World RX champion Johan Kristoffersson took part in the RX2e meeting at Mettet in Belgium last weekend, winning the event from his Extreme E team-mate Mikaela Åhin-Kottulinsky.

Hansen Motorsport drivers Timmy and Kevin Hansen also contested the RX2e series for YellowSquad.

Loeb will also be joined at Lohéac by 2019 World RX runner-up Andreas Bakkerud, who will again race a Škoda Fabia run by ESMotorsport. The Norwegian finished second in the final last year.

Words:Stephen Brunsdon