Sébastien Loeb has branded Silverstone‘s new rallycross track as ‘too slow’ following the opening round of the British Rallycross Championship which was the track’s first competitive meeting.
The Frenchman was one of a handful of world championship regulars who entered into the event to get a taste the circuit ahead of the SpeedMachine World Rallycross Championship round in May. The FIA World Rallycross Championship drivers dominated the event, with Loeb leading home Team Peugeot-Hansen team mate Timmy Hansen and EKS Audi Sport‘s new signing Andreas Bakkerud in the final.
Despite the strong result, Loeb was critical of the new track, which produced few opportunities for overtaking over the course of the event.
“For me it’s too slow,” said the Peugeot driver. “There’s no fast corners at all so the maximum is a 70 (kph) corner.”
“For sure it will be more exciting if we have some fast sections where you can make a difference with a little straight behind to create some opportunities to overtake. That’s what we are missing I think.”
The mixed conditions throughout the day caused problems for all, with the teams struggling to find the right setup in the ever-changing wet and snowy conditions, but Loeb felt that his team managed to work well in the circumstances.
“We came to prepare ahead of the season so we didn’t have really precise targets or things like that, but the conditions were really difficult,” he said. “Cold, wet in the morning, drying up in the afternoon and a little snow so it was not easy to find the right setup and the right tyre choices but at the end it went well, the team did a good job and the car was working well. We won so for sure it’s quite good.”
Although Loeb, Hansen, and Bakkerud – along with Guerlain Chicherit and Kevin Hansen who were also at the event – got an early taste of the new track, Loeb doesn’t feel that it will give them an advantage over other drivers in the WRX field.
“Today we’ve seen the drivers of the championship are really experienced and they get in the rhythm very quickly,” he said. “It was my case two years ago when we arrived in Riga. There was an official test session, I wasn’t there and finally I came for the first time and won the race, so anything is possible.”
“We always have to adapt out driving style to the different race tracks. This one is very twisty, very slow, we have some mud, some ruts in places so we have to adapt for sure,” he added. “I think the drivers will get used to the track quite easy.”