Sebastien Loeb to Tackle Dakar with Peugeot

by Jake Kilshaw

Nine-time FIA World Rally Championship winner Sebastien Loeb has joined Peugeot‘s 2016 Dakar Rally line-up, and will also contend the Rallye du Maroc in October.

Alongside Carlos Sainz, Loeb will drive the Peugeot 2008DKR in Morocco from October 3-9, reuniting with his old team-mate from the 2003 WRC season. Sainz will drive a 2008DKR16 but Loeb is in the 2015 car instead.

Following that, the Frenchman will enter the infamous Dakar Rally with team-mates Stephane Peterhansel and Cyril Despres, for 13 days in Argentina and Bolivia.

“The Dakar is completely different from the racing I’m doing at the moment,” said Loeb. “It will be very long, over two weeks, and you need to have the endurance to look after the driver and the car. It’s another approach to racing but I’ll discover that in January.

“When I tried the Peugeot 2008DKR out in June, it was immediately very impressive for me – and of course it has changed a lot since then. What struck me most of all is how the Dakar car was a completely new experience: in the WRC I have been used to going round obstacles but with this car you can just drive straight over them, and it takes some time to have the confidence to believe it!

“I’ve also been used to having very detailed pace notes: in Cross Country, you have to find the road for yourself and improvise your route. And this is actually the first time I have driven any type of diesel car in competition too. So there is a lot for me to learn, but I am eager to find out more.”

Currently, Loeb is competing in the FIA World Touring Car Championship, and is currently third in the championship. However, he has previously scored no fewer than 78 WRC victories, an impressive success rate of a 46.2% wins-to-starts ratio.

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