Sebastien Loeb has admitted that it was his choice to miss Rally Sweden next month after talking with Hyundai boss Andrea Adamo.
Loeb was surprisingly replaced on the entry list for the second round of the 2020 FIA World Rally Championship by Craig Breen, just the day after his disappointing sixth place finish on Rallye Monte Carlo.
But in an interview with French newspaper L’Equipe, the nine-time WRC champion was adamant that it was his own decision to miss round two and not that of his team or Adamo’s.
He said: “I didn’t have any particular desire to go (to Sweden), but as it had been decided like this with the team, I planned to respect that commitment.”
“Andrea without doubt felt something and, on Sunday evening, he asked me if I wanted to do Sweden. He told me that I could do as I felt like, but I had to decide quickly because the deadline for a change of crew was Monday.”
“It didn’t take me more than 20 seconds to decide. I knew people would react by thinking I had been kicked out. [But] to compete in Sweden in s****y conditions, when the others are going to be driving like savages and you’re going to have to pull the pin just to try and do something… I wasn’t really feeling it.”
He also admitted that although he does have more rounds planned with the team in 2020, the events he does may change to more gravel-based events. He added: “Maybe we’ll think about orientating the programme more towards gravel rallies, because it’s obvious I’m not managing the [required] times in the i20 on tarmac.”
Rally Sweden takes place between February 13-16.