Motor sport

WRC legend Loeb will return to Portugal

WRC legend Sebastien Loeb will return to the world championship for the next Portuguese round, it has been announced.

The most successful WRC driver of all time won a thrilling duel with fellow rally legend Sebastien Ogier this year in Monaco – both embarking on a part-time 2022 calendar – with the former now confirmed for the Portugal event with M-Sport and the second probably do the same with Toyota.

“Driving the Puma is one of my fondest rally memories; winning Monte Carlo after so long was unbelievable,” Loeb said. “The team worked very well, which allowed us to take our 80th rally victory. From my first test drive with this car, I immediately had very good feelings and I like driving with so much power with the hybrid system. It’s a great car, a great team and we celebrated an incredible moment together.

“Portugal was a blank space in my calendar and it’s a gravel rally, I took part in this version of the rally in 2019, so I have a base of pace notes from certain stages. It was the one of the reasons I chose Portugal, the other was that I wanted to do a gravel rally; I like to drive on gravel, so it was a very simple choice.

Loeb will team up with Galmiche again

M-Sport

Loeb’s co-driver Isabel Galmiche will also be back. Following her victory this year, she became the first woman to stand on a WRC podium since Fabrizia Pons in 1997, also in Monte.

The WRC is looking to mark Portugal as the 50th anniversary of the championship, with several activities planned – securing the two Sébs will no doubt only add to the festive atmosphere.