Loeb Feels 2018 May be Last Chance for Dakar Triumph

Credit: Kin Marcin/Red Bull Content Pool

Sebastien Loeb feels the 2018 Dakar Rally could be his last opportunity to take victory in the event, especially with Peugeot withdrawing after this year’s 9000-kilometre challenge.

The Frenchman, a nine-time World Rally Champion and currently plying his trade in the FIA World Rallycross Championship, will again have Daniel Elena alongside him, and he feels with the navigation needs of the Dakar Rally, having someone of the calibre of his Monegasque co-driver alongside him will only be to his advantage.

“For me, it’s a little bit of a case of now or never if I want to win the Dakar,” said Loeb. “It’s my last opportunity to do it really.

“Last year, we saw that we had the capability of winning it. Daniel did a good job when it came to the navigation. That’s a source of motivation. We know that we can do it and I’m heading to South America with my sights set on victory, that’s for sure.”

Loeb knows even a small mistake can have drastic consequences in the Dakar Rally, and with sand dunes forming a large part of the route, on which he acknowledges he has very limited experience, he says that anything can happen.

“But there are all sorts of things that come into play on the Dakar,” said Loeb. “It’s very long and you can quickly lose everything with just a small mistake, especially now that the sand dunes form such a big part of the route again. That’s positive for the sport, as it’s what people imagine that rally raids are all about.

“On the other hand, it’s also the type of terrain where I don’t have a great deal of experience. So, the route isn’t one that works to my advantage.

“As for the car, it’s more stable, easier to drive, and with better suspension. It gives us more confidence and allows us to push a bit harder.”