Loeb Charges To Second Place in Portugal

Sebastian Loeb in the Team Peugeot-Hansen 208 WRX. Credit: IMG / FIA World RX

Sebastien Loeb regained his impressive form in the 2017 FIA World Rallycross Championship after pushing 2017 World RX of Portugal winner Mattias Ekstrom all the way to the finish.

“It’s great to have finished on the podium for the first time this year. My season got off to a poor start at the opening round, so it was vital to bounce back. We picked up pace as the weekend progressed,” explained Loeb.

Sebastien Loeb was on the pace of the front runners in Qualifying at Portugal. Credit: Paulo Maria / DPPI

The Frenchman was a contender after finishing inside the top five in three of the four Qualifying sessions and he would end up in fourth place overall after Qualifying. His lowest position was in Q3 after contact with Kevin Eriksson left him in nineteenth place.

Loeb explains his frustration at the Q3 incident.

“That said, as at Barcelona, Q3 turned out to be very frustrating when I found myself behind a driver who span just in front of me. It was a costly incident for me,” said Loeb.

“Without it, I would have been on pole for my semi-final and the outcome could have been different because I was fast in the final.”

Loeb pushed Ekstrom for the win on the Final Lap of the race. Credit: Paulo Maria / DPPI

However the nine time WRC Champion fought his way through the Semi-Final as he chased Ekstrom over the line. Loeb’s tactical move in the Final saw him take the Joker on lap one and when leader Johan Kristoffersson took his Joker on the final lap, the Team Peugeot-Hansen driver pounced for the lead and pushed his EKSRX rival all the way to the finish line to secure second place.

“I still came away with 23 points, so that’s a real positive.”

With his second place finish in Portugal, Loeb now sits in sixth place in the FIA World Rallycross Drivers Championship on 26 points and is the highest placed Peugeot driver in the standings.