Nine-time FIA World Rally Championship winner Sebastien Loeb will return to the series with Citroen in 2018, entering three events.

Loeb, 43, won nine consecutive WRC titles between 2004 and 2012 with Citroen before quitting full-time participation in the series in order to pursue interests away from rallying in the World Touring Car Championship and World Rallycross Championship.

Loeb's last WRC appearance came at the Rallye Monte Carlo in 2015, where he finished eighth, but the Frenchman will return for three rallies next year, starting in Mexico next March.

Loeb and co-driver Daniel Elena will then return for the Corsica rally in April before closing out their programme in Spain next October. Loeb will replace Craig Breen in Citroen's line-up for all three rallies, while Kris Meeke has been confirmed for the full 13-rally season.

"The feeling you get in rally is one of the most thrilling feelings I’ve ever experienced, and I was excited about driving one of these new WRCs in a race. It’s nice to be able to do it in the team with which I’ve enjoyed so much success,” Loeb said, having tested for Citroen back in August.

"Everyone was pleased after the test sessions done this year, myself first and foremost, and these three appearances were the logical next step.

“I don’t have any expectations, I just want to enjoy myself. I thought it made sense to take part in the French round, especially since I’ve always loved racing on tarmac, although I’m not familiar with the current route of the Tour de Corse.

“Spain seemed like a good option too. And although I’m expecting it to be pretty tough given the time that has passed since I last competed there, I also wanted to contest a gravel rally. We opted for Mexico, since I have good memories of racing there and the route hasn't changed too much since I was last involved in the championship."

Citroen Racing director Yves Matton added: “I’m delighted to see there will be another chapter in the great history between between Sebastien Loeb and Citroen. He couldn’t return to the WRC with anyone other than us!

“Seb confirmed he has lost none of his speed and skill during the test sessions, although he is bound to be short of knowledge of the stages and time in the car compared with the increasingly tough competition."

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I'd loved to have seen Loeb in F1 in his prime. No question he was the best driver in the world for a few years and would have won Grand Prix races and probably the title too.

Sure Loeb was a real force to be reckoned with, the statistics show that. Still, the factory Citroen was the car to beat at that time.

I am also at a loss to explain how Hirvonen, upon joining Citroen, almost immediately got disqualified due to infringing parts on his car while Loeb never had any issue with such matters. The popular conspiracy is, Verstappen was wrong in his tweet, the F in FIA does not stand for Ferrari, but French.