WRC » 2 October 2012
Loeb: Not easy to step back
Sebastien Loeb says it was a difficult decision to stand down from a full-time WRC drive
Sebastien Loeb says the decision to only complete a part campaign in the World Rally Championship next season wasn't easy, but has revealed he was tired of the time taken up by a full season.
Loeb confirmed last week that he would only compete on certain events in 2013 after Citroen announced it was committing itself to the series, with Mikko Hirvonen now taking over as lead driver for a full-time assault on the championship.
Loeb meanwhile will start his season in Monte Carlo, with selected events 'that are important for Citroen' also on the agenda.
“It wasn't an easy decision to take,” he said. “On the one hand, I have to admit that I am little tired of the schedule imposed by the World Rally Championship. What with the test sessions, reconnaissance and the various other things, I spend a lot of time away from my family. Having said that, I still love driving and winning. This season seems to show that I still have the pace, but I didn't want to stop after competing in one season too many either.
“I'll still be around in 2013, but not as consistently as now, competing at rallies that I like and which are important for Citroen. I couldn't not include the Rallye Monte-Carlo in my diary, so I'll be starting the season on January 15 along with everyone else!”
Citroen has also revealed that it would consider putting together a World Touring Car Championship programme for Loeb in 2014, and he said he was excited by the prospect of racing elsewhere.
“In the last few months, I have held lots of discussions with Frédéric Banzet and Yves Matton,” he said. “Over the last ten years, I could have taken up offers to go elsewhere, but I have always preferred to stay with the team that gave me my chance.
“When we started talking about the role of ambassador that I might have in the future, I quickly felt that I would need an active role to feel completely satisfied. Given that I wanted to pursue my career in track racing, we came up with this idea together. After considering the various racing categories, the WTCC emerged as the best option. There are still a number of variables and imponderables in the equation, but I am excited about the prospect of competing in this championship.”
Loeb could wrap up his ninth title this weekend on home soil if he finishes ahead of team-mate Hirvonen and the Frenchman said he was hopeful of securing honours in front of his countrymen.
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