9-time Planet Rally champion Sebastien Loeb, will the moment once again contend behind the wheel of a M-Activity Ford Puma Hybrid Rally1 at Rally de Portugal following month.
Rally legend Loeb built a gorgeous debut with the M-Activity crew at the Monte Carlo Rally in January as a 1-off, having six stage wins and outdueling 8-time WRC champ Sebastien Ogier for the victory. M-Activity has now declared that Loeb and co-driver Isabelle Galmiche will rejoin the crew to finish a 5-car or truck Puma Hybrid Rally1 line-up in Portugal.
Soon after securing additional accomplishment in a number of disciplines all-around the globe given that his 1st win of 2022, Loeb will just take to the popular Porto gravel stages assisted by Galmiche, the first lady to history an all round event victory in WRC given that 1997.
With nine WRC championships and 80 rally wins, Loeb is regarded to be the discipline’s best of all time, as properly as one of the finest drivers in motorsport heritage, interval – and at 48, he displays no signs of slowing down. Presently in 2022, he qualified prospects the FIA Earth Rally Raid Championship possessing completed runner-up at the Dakar Rally at the wheel of the BRX Hunter T1+. In all, Loeb’s race software for 2022 includes driving in the WRC, Dakar, the FIA Planet Rally Raid Championship, Severe E and DTM.
Portugal marks a landmark situation for the M-Sport Ford workforce, which will grow to be the very first manufacturer to ever subject five Rally1 automobiles at the identical occasion.
The Frenchman’s history with the celebration began back in 2007, exactly where he claimed a victory on his debut in Portugal soon after profitable 11 of 18 phases. He went on to gain the celebration again in 2009, then accumulating a more two podium finishes and a grand full of 32 stage wins to increase to his report-breaking tally.
“Driving the Puma is one particular of my favourite rally recollections profitable Monte Carlo right after these a long time was outstanding,” reported Loeb. “The staff labored genuinely effectively, with a quick fix to the problems we confronted at shakedown, enabling us to declare our 80th rally win. From my initial test with this car, I instantly experienced a quite excellent experience and I appreciate driving with so considerably electrical power with the hybrid procedure. It is a good motor vehicle, a fantastic staff and we celebrated an incredible moment together.
“Portugal was an vacant space in my calendar and it is a gravel rally, I have competed on this edition of the rally in 2019 so I have a foundation of rate notes from some of the stages. That was a single of the good reasons for selecting Portugal, the other was I wished to do a gravel rally I like driving on gravel so it was a very straightforward option.”
Malcolm Wilson, handling director of M-Sport, mentioned: “This has been produced possible by our wonderful companions at Ford and Red Bull, and I’m actually looking ahead to seeing how Seb and the Puma Hybrid Rally1 accomplish on the initial real gravel event of the 12 months. It’s excellent to have this sort of a sturdy line-up of motorists and I’m really very pleased that our team is likely to be the very first to operate five prime-level vehicles at a WRC party.
“If nearly anything, this demonstrates just how appealing these rally1 vehicles, and Puma in particular, are to drivers and we hope to go on to press the limitations of the activity. I am also hoping this level of popularity of the rally1 autos will lead us to observing much more consumers cars and trucks competing on gatherings close to the entire world.”
Loeb’s return coincides with the 50th anniversary celebrations of the FIA Entire world Rally Championship. A range of pursuits are planned throughout the rally weekend, May perhaps 19-22 as rallying celebrates 50 years of motion on the most demanding levels and surfaces in the earth.