PROFILE1995: Started rallying with Peugeot 106
1997: Drives Peugeot
1998: Drives Citroen
1999: Finished19th in Corsica with Citroen on his WRC debut
2000: Drives Citroen, Renault and Toyota, 9th in Corsica, 10th in Italy, French Champion
2001: Drives Citroen, 2nd in Italy, Super 1600 Champion
2002: Contract with Citroen, 1st WRC win in Germany, 10th WRC for Drivers
2003: Full WRC programme with Citroen, win in Monte Carlo, Germany and Italy, 2nd WRC for Drivers
2004: Drives Citroen, win in Monte Carlo, Sweden, Cyprus, Turkey, Germany, Australia, World Champion
2005: Drives Citroen, win in Monte Carlo, New Zealand, Sardinia, Cyprus, Turkey, Greece,Argentina,Germany, Corsica, Spain, World Champion
2006: Drives Kronos-Citroen, win in Mexico, Spain, Corsica, Argentina, Italy, Germany, Japan, Cyprus, World Champion
|Date of Birth:
26/2/1974 at Haguenau
World Drivers' Champion:
|Years of success as a schoolboy gymnast taught
Sebastien Loeb a good deal about
handling pressure. He started rallying in 1995 when he reached the final in the French national competition
Volant Rally Jeunes. He reached the final again the following year after making his
competition debut on the 1996 Rallye du Florival. For 1997 he teamed up with his current
co-driver Daniel Elena and moved up to the Peugeot 106 category where the pair racked up
three wins in the 1300cc class.
In 1998 he continued to make his way up the ranks and get further competition miles under his belt. He also switched from one French marque to another by graduating from a Peugeot 106 to a Citroen Saxo Kit Car. Used his front-wheel drive experience to the max with two wins and sixth place.
1999 was Loeb's first key season of rallying, which included not only victory in the Citroen Saxo kit car cup, but also his World Rally Championship debut. Unsurprisingly it was on the asphalt in Corsica and Sanremo where he moved up to the big time and he promptly won his class in a Saxo Kit Car.
In 2000 he proved that he is a force on all surfaces by winning the French gravel championship. While sticking in the main with a factory Citroen drive in a Xsara Kit Car, he also stepped up to the World Rally stage by competing in two rounds with Toyota. The partnership yielded a ninth place in Corsica and 10th in Sanremo.
In 2001 he competed in the Super 1600 category with Citroen winning every Rounds of the series. The French marque decided to give its young protege a full works outing in Italy and his drive was the biggest surprise of the event. In his first drive in a Citroen World Rally Car he took the second place behind Gilles Panizzi.
That performance secured a works contract with Citroen for 2002. Already in Monte Carlo he surprised the whole rallying world being the fastest driver of the event, but he was penalised after the Citroen team made an illegal tyre change in a re-fuelling area after Leg 2 and he dropped second. At last in Germany he achieved his first ever WRC win and the second for Citroen's Xsara WRC.
The season 2003 started well and he was able to take his first ever Monte Carlo win and second WRC win of his career. The victory was especially sweet for Loeb as he would have won the event last year, until he was penalised for a technical infringement. The young Frenchman outpaced his illustrious Citroen team-mates, Carlos Sainz and Colin McRae. In Germany he took his second ever Rallye Deutschland win and his advantage was only 3.2 s ahead of second placed Marcus Gronholm. In Australia he and Petter Solberg were in the class of their own. During the whole event only few seconds separeted the young guns. Solberg was able to pass Loeb on the penultimate SS and won the event, but in Italy Loeb won again. In Great Britain he was not able beat Solberg and he missed out on the title by a one point, but placed second in the series.
In 2004 he continued with Citroen and the start of the season was the best possible. He took his second ever Monte Carlo win and in Sweden he broke the Nordic domination of this event by becoming the first driver from outside Sweden or Finland to win the rally in its 54-year history. In Cyprus he placed second, but ten days after the event the FIA decided that the water pumps fitted to the works Peugeots of Gronholm and Rovanpera were illegal, handing victory to Loeb and Citroen. He moved up into the drivers´ championship lead and in Turkey he scored his first real gravel rally win. In Germany he took his fifth win of the season and in Corsica he became the first French World Rally Champion since Didier Auriol in 1994 when he finished second in the Tour de Corse Rallye de France. He is not known for extravagant gestures, but now he celebrated his first world title with a somersault on the ramp. In Australia he set a new record: fellow Frenchman Didier Auriol had scored the most World Championship wins in a single season, taking six in 1992 and now Loeb shared this record.
In 2005 Loeb continued with Citroen. In Monte Carlo Loeb took his third successive victory and in New Zealand and Sardinia he dominated the event taking Citroen´s first ever New Zealand and Sardinia wins. In Cyprus and Turkey he repeated last year´s wins and in Greece scored his record-breaking fifth World Rally Championship win in a row, as well as the sixth win of the season, which matches his achievements from last year. The Frenchman equalled Didier Auriol's record of five consecutive victories. In Argentina he smashed rallying's world records taking the record for the most consecutive wins in a season - six - and, adding their win in the Monte Carlo season-opener, the most wins in one season -seven. In Rallye Deutschland he took already his eighth win of the year and is his home rally in Corsica he was able to create once again rallying history by setting fastest time on all 12 speed tests en route to his ninth win of the season. In Spain newly-crowned double champion took his 10th win of the seson and Citroen secured its third consecutive manufacturers' title. It wwa Loeb´s 20th win on his way to be the most successful french rally driver equalling with Didier Auriol.
In 2006 the long-time Citroen protégé will be driving a privateer Xsara WRC for the Belgian Kronos Racing team as the French manufacturer takes a year's sabbatical to prepare for a renewed assault in 2007 with a new World Rally Car based on the C4 Coupe. In Monte Carlo it seemed that nothing has changed from the previous year. Loeb dominated the event and was leading, but then on the last stage of the leg 1 slid off the road and retired. Despite his retirement he was able to take the 2nd place thanks to the SupeRally rule. In Mexico Loeb achieved the debut win of the Kronos Racing and in Catalunya he took the second consecutive win in Spain, and the 22nd of his career. The win came on their 60th rally in the Citroen Xsara WRC. In Corsica Sebastien Loeb captured his third consecutive win of the season and in the following event he took his second consecutive victory in Argentina. In Italy he secured his fifth consecutive victory and extended his World Rally Championship points lead after the early leader Marcus Gronholm retired at the beginning of leg 2 when he hit a rock losing his engine's oil. Loeb´s Monegasque co-driver Daniel Elena goes into the record books as the most successful navigator in the history of the series, with 25 world rally victories to his name, all alongside Loeb. In Germany Loeb scored his sixth win of the WRC 2006 season. It was also his fifth consecutive victory in Germany’s round of the series and Loeb now equaled the record of 26 world rally victories held by Spaniard Carlos Sainz. In Finland he was not able to beat Marcus Gronholm, but in Japan he claimed a record-breaking 27th world rally victory, one of the few remaining records that had not yet been in his possession. The Citroën Xsara driver, co-driven by Daniel Elena, now has the honour of being the most successful driver in the sport. In Cyprus Loeb took the third consecutive win and with his eight win of the season, he was one step closer and only five points away to claiming a third consecutive world title. In the following event he only needed to finish in the top four to seal another title. But bad luck halted this plan. He suffered a broken right arm while mountain bike training in Switzerland and he was forced to miss the next events. In Rally Australia Loeb mathematically claimed his third straight championship title, despite not contesting the rally at all.