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Loeb misses out on GT double

2 April 2013

Sebastien Loeb missed out on the chance of a double success at Nogaro during the opening round of the new FIA GT Series.

Loeb and team-mate Alvaro Parente has made the perfect start to their campaign after winning the qualifying race at the French circuit, meaning they started the main race from the front of the grid.

In tough wet conditions, nine-time WRC title winner Loeb was able to maintain his lead at the start ahead of the Audi of Niki Mayr-Melnhof before pitting to hand his McLaren MP4-12C over to Parente.

Unfortunately for the Frenchman, he was deemed to have undone his seat belts before coming to a stop during the driver change which resulted in a drive-through penalty being award, while a 30 second time penalty was then applied to the pair post-race after Parente clashed with Rene Rast's Audi.

It meant the duo were classified down in 13th spot and end the opening weekend of the season eight points away from the championship lead.

“We suffered a bit on a wet track,” Loeb said after race two. “Nevertheless, I managed to keep the first place [in my stint]. After two penalties, we finished outside the top ten, which is a pity because we had clear potential to win or be on the podium.

"I do remember the positives however. We've always been competitive, which proves that the team worked well and personally, I am also satisfied. I expected this event to be a test and it was important for me to be in the game. I don't forget that this is only the first race of the team at this level in GT and we have room for improvement on various points.

“The performance is there and we will capitalise on this at Zolder.”


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