Record-breaking multiple World Rally Champion Sébastien Loeb – the most successful driver in the history of the sport, with no fewer than 52 victories to his name – is to test a GP2 Series single-seater in preparation for a mooted F1 bow in the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, reports claim.
It has been rumoured for some time now that Scuderia Toro Rosso – whose parent company Red Bull is also Loeb's sponsor – is keen to hand the Frenchman his keenly-awaited F1 debut with a one-off drive in the inaugural race to be held around the Yas Marina street circuit in the capital of the United Arab Emirates on 1 November.
Moreover, Citroën Total World Rally Team boss Olivier Quesnel has confirmed that 'if someone makes a proposal to Sébastien [for Abu Dhabi], Citroën Racing will authorise him [to race]', given that the event falls beyond the end of the 2009 WRC campaign, in which Loeb is bidding to claim an unprecedented sixth straight drivers' crown.
Now, French newspaper Le Parisien
has reported that the 35-year-old Alsacien is due to get behind the wheel of a David Price Racing-run GP2 machine following this weekend's Rally Catalunya in Spain, an event on which he has gone undefeated for the past four years. The reason for Loeb's GP2 test is that all F1 in-season testing is now banned, save for promotional days and a limited amount of straight-line aerodynamic running.
Loeb presently trails Ford rival Mikko Hirvonen by five points in the WRC title standings with two rallies remaining in 2009.