Sebastien Loeb has revealed that he considered retiring from the World Rally Championship back in 2005, when he was heading for the second of his nine titles.
Loeb, who won't defend his crown in 2013 after electing to contest just four events with Citroen, has been the dominant force in the WRC for the past decade – wrapping up the title for nine successive seasons and taking an unprecedented 76 wins.
However, the Frenchman has now revealed that his astonishing record could have ended much sooner had he stuck to a comment he made to his mother at some point seven years ago, when he said he wouldn't remain in the series for much longer.
“I think already in 2005, I told my mother that I would stop soon,” he told Sport Auto
. “But it's also been a few years that Daniel [Elena] has been saying to me 'come on, let's keep going until 2012' and I always thought 'is he mad?' But in the end, here we are in 2012...
“I needed to keep driving. As soon as I realised that, I put Sebastien Loeb Racing into place: so that I could have a long-term future in motorsport. I'm also going to be a brand ambassador for Citroen, but not just somebody who signs autographs: that sort of role doesn't interest me.”