Sébastien Loeb

1. Who is Sébastien Loeb?

Sébastien Loeb is a French pilot, born February 26, 1974 in Haguenau (Bas-Rhin). He is a nine-time WRC world rally champion (record) and is currently participating in the Rally-Raid world championship with Bahrain Raid Xtreme but also in Extreme E with X44. Without forgetting the WRC with M-Sport and the Puma Rally1 hybrid.

2. Sébastien Loeb’s junior career

Sébastien Loeb and his co-driver Daniel Elena at the Alsace Rally in a Saxo Kit Car © FREDERIC LE FLOC H / DPPI

Former gymnast, destined to become an electrician (he is studying in this direction), Sébastien Loeb took part in the Unbotting in the Rallye Jeunes selections in 1995. Beaten in the final by Nicolas Bernardi, he was then noticed by two local entrepreneurs, Dominique Heintz and Rémi Mammosser, who will help him finance his debut in amateur rallies with a Peugeot 106.

He then met Daniel Elena, who would become his faithful co-driver from 1998 to 2021. Winner of the Citroën Saxo Kit Car Trophy in 1999, the Sébastien Loeb-Daniel Elena duo immediately joined the French FFSA Team, which took them to the discovery of the World Rally Championship in his Citroën Saxo (victories at the Tour de Corse and Sanremo).

At the national level, Sébastien Loeb was French Champion of two-wheel drive gravel rallies in 2000. Guy Fréquelin, the boss of Citroën Sport, lent him the keys to one of his cars, an Xsara Kit Car, for the final of the Asphalt version in Var.

Sébastien Loeb signed his first overall success at this level, but above all, the chevron brand offered him a factory driver contract for 2001. That year, Sébastien Loeb handily dominated the Junior WRC (with the Saxo ) thanks to five victories in as many rounds. Here it is ready for the World Rally Championship.

3. Sébastien Loeb’s WRC career

Sébastien Loeb wins the first of his 1 WRC titles in 9 / © DPPI

In 2002, a partial program in the World Rally Championship took Sebastien Loeb notably to the Monte-Carlo Rally (where he lost the victory on the green carpet for an illegal tire change) as well as to the German Rally (where he kept his success). Citroën fully embarked on the adventure in 2003.

Winner for good of the Monte-Carlo Rally, Sébastien Loeb outclasses his experienced teammates Carlos Sainz and Colin McRae, and misses the title of world champion by a small point to the detriment of Petter Solberg. The Norwegian did well to take advantage of it, because from 2004 to 2012, Sébastien Loeb and Citroën would form an unbeatable association.

Nothing stopped them, not even a broken collarbone with four rounds remaining in 2006. In 2007, Sébastien Loeb emerged victorious in an epic duel against the Ford of Marcus Grönholm. The C4 replaced the Xsara, but the successes are piling up. The Finns Mikko Hirvonen and Jari-Matti Latvala are not worthy rivals, while the DS3 was introduced in 2011. The enemy then comes from within, from the young Sébastien Ogier.

The collaboration between Sébastien Ogier and Sébastien Loeb was sometimes stormy at Citroën / © DPPI

The latter has no complexes when it comes to star Sébastien Loeb, and relations become strained during the season. Sébastien Ogier then understands that there is not enough room for two number 1s at Citroën Racing, and joins Volkswagen, leaving Sébastien Loeb to dominate the WRC for a ninth and final time in 2012. A rally fan, we will find him drawing from numerous repeats until 2022. And with success!

Sébastien Loeb snatches a 79th victory in the World Rally Championship in changing conditions in Catalonia with the C3 at the end of 2018 with a masterful tactical move, but he is asked to see it again the following winter. Hyundai welcomes it with open arms in 2019 and helps the South Korean brand win the Manufacturers' title. In September 2020 he collected a 119th WRC podium in Turkey then refocused on his Dakar program with Bahrain Raid Xtreme (Prodrive) and Extreme E with X44.

On the sidelines in 2021 where he preferred to try a new discipline like Extreme E, Sébastien Loeb made his comeback to the World Rally Championship in 2022. In full restructuring with the appointment of Craig Breen as headliner for the entire season, M-Sport then offered Sébastien Loeb the chance to take the wheel of one of the structure's Puma Rally1s to complete a few rounds of the world championship.

Excited by the project, Sébastien Loeb did not refuse the English offer, thus confirming his big return to the WRC after more than a year of absence. For his comeback, the stage is quickly set and it is with a new participation in the Monte-Carlo Rally and above all a new victory, the 80th in his career, that Sébastien Loeb reappears in the World Rally Championship.

At the wheel of the M-Sport Puma Rally1 hybrid, Sébastien Loeb once again proves that he still has the flame / © Nikos Katikis / DPPI

4. Sébastien Loeb’s career in other disciplines

Sébastien Loeb also distinguished himself at the 24 Hours of Le Mans / © DPPI

It's difficult to summarize Sébastien Loeb's other four-wheel excursions as they were so diverse and varied. In 2005 and 2006, he was seen at Pescarolo Sport at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, an event that he managed to tame to take a nice second place behind the official Audi R10 TDI that won in 2006. At the turn of the 2010s, he entered the World Rallycross Championship, winning the X-Games in Los Angeles then several World RX rounds for Peugeot. For three seasons (2016 to 2018), the nine-time world rally champion will fight in World RX.

Facing Timmy Hansen, Andreas Bakkerud and Johan Kristoffersson, Sébastien Loeb managed to score two victories (Latvia and Belgium) for a total of 17 podiums over three years.

Sébastien Loeb tried his hand at Rallycross / © DPPI

Tourism was also one of his preferences after the WRC in 2014 and 2015, but he suffered the law of his teammates Yvan Muller and José Maria Lopez with the C-Élysée of Citroën Racing. Despite teammates who were stronger due to their greater experience, Sébastien Loeb was able to stand out and make life difficult for them. In two years in the WTCC, the nine-time world rally champion has built up a nice track record with 6 successes and 14 additional podiums in 47 races.

Powerless against the experienced Yvan Muller and José Maria Lopez, Sébastien Loeb will still finish 3rd in his two WTCC seasons with Citroën Racing.

Sébastien Loeb in the streets of Macau in the WTCC with Citroën / © Florent Gooden / DPPI.

Also attracted by Grand Touring, he participated in several GT Tour and FIA GT Series events in a McLaren MP4-12C GT3. In 2013, he opened the GT page in his career by competing in the entire FIA ​​GT Series season.

Endowed with an enterprising spirit, he took part in the South American and then Saudi Dakar with the desire to win. But the rally raid still refuses him, despite a second place in 2017 behind Stéphane Peterhansel at Peugeot.

Despite his panache intact, Sébastien Loeb has not yet found the key to Paris-Dakar / © Frédéric Le Floch / DPPI

5. AUTOhebdo's opinion on Sébastien Loeb

The least we can say is that Sébastien Loeb has guts. Who else dares to diversify their activities to this extent today? The Alsatian, like a modern Jacky Ickx, likes to ride, regardless of the discipline. The living WRC legend was able to surround himself with a team committed to his cause at Citroën in the WRC, and achieved some great success in other categories; how can we not forget the record (since broken) at Pikes Peak in 2013 with the Peugeot 208 T16? However, does he not risk damaging his legend by venturing into perilous projects (Dakar 2021 and his divorce from his lifelong friend, Daniel Elena)?

Sébastien Loeb’s Rally Results

The highlights of Sébastien Loeb's career






10 LOEB Sebastien (FRA),ELENA Daniel (MNO), CITROEN C3 WRC, CITROEN TOTAL ABU DHABI WRT action, during the 2018 WRC World Rally Car Championship, rally of Spain from October 25 to 28 at Salou, Spain - Photo Paulo Maria / DPPI

AUTO - DAKAR 2017 - PART 2

309 LOEB SEBASTIEN (fra) ELENA DANIEL (mco) PEUGEOT TEAM PEUGEOT TOTAL 3008 DKR action during the Dakar 2017 Paraguay Bolivia Argentina , Etape 7 - Stage 7, La Paz - Uyuni, January 9 - Photo Frederic Le Floc'h / DPPI

Sébastien Loeb
Sébastien Loeb
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Ecurie Citroën
Age February 26, 1974 (50 years old)

associated researches

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Ecurie Citroën

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