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Loeb admits Abu Dhabi possibility – but insists he'll stay in WRC in 2010

Record-breaking multiple World Rally Champion Sébastien Loeb has acknowledged that there is a possibility he might make his grand prix debut in the 2009 Abu Dhabi F1 finale – but he is adamant that if he does so, for the time being at least it will be very much a one-off outing.

It was rumoured earlier this month that the Frenchman was perhaps being lined up by Scuderia Toro Rosso to replace compatriot Sébastien Bourdais at the small Faenza-based concern, and though reigning British F3 Champion Jaime Alguersuari has stepped in to fill the breach in the initial instance – set to make his grand prix bow as the youngest debutant in the top flight's official 60-year history in Hungary this weekend – speculation persists that Loeb could yet similarly join the grid before the current season is out.

His employers Citroën have affirmed that they recognise 'how important it is for him (Loeb) to try his hand at different activities as a driver' and that as such they will not stand in the way of the 35-year-old should STR come calling – provided it is outside of the WRC campaign [see separate story – click here]. The inaugural race around the Yas Marina Circuit is due to take place a week on from Wales Rally GB, the final event on the 2009 WRC calendar.

Whilst insisting that his 2010 plans involve rallying 'and not Formula 1', the 52-time rally-winner has admitted that a competitive appearance in the capital of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) – one that would build upon the testing runs he conducted for Red Bull Racing at Silverstone and in Barcelona late last year, lapping an impressive eighth-quickest out of the 17 drivers present on the latter occasion and impressing the energy drinks-backed outfit with both his raw pace and feedback – is not entirely out of the question. The Alsacien had previously also tried out for Renault in a car swap with Heikki Kovalainen just under a year previously.

“If I do Abu Dhabi, and at the moment nothing is done for this, it would be too late in the season for me to change my mind for next year,” he told British newspaper the Daily Telegraph. “I'm sure [by then] I will have signed for Citroën next year and I would have already begun testing for the WRC.

“I am keen to sign a contract with Citroën, and that is the only negotiation that I am having at the moment. It would be a pleasure to drive in Formula 1, but I don't know if I am able to do that or not.”



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Matt - Unregistered

July 24, 2009 5:43 PM

He definitely sounds like a guy who's interested.... I think he wants to race, to see if he can be seriously competitive, before making the switch, but his opportunity to do that race is past his point of commitment for Citroen for 2010... it would be crazy to expect him to debut in 2011, but I know he wasn't a big fan of the 1.6 turbo's they're bringing in. Who knows. I imostly don't expect him to make the switch. I'd like it if he did, into a competitive car, it would be great to see people at the top of each dicipline competing head to head.... Rossi, where are you?

pot - Unregistered

July 24, 2009 7:20 PM

i think EVERYONE wud love to see loeb do an f1 race, if u want to spice up the sport, have at least one race, end of season, only regulars score points for championship, and we wud all get to see the top guys eg, loeb,rossi,any nascar driver etc, of all catagories queing up to do it, it wud be mega, f1 exciting?? its possible!



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