Sébastien Loeb is by far the sport’s most successful competitor. When he retired in 2013, he did so with nine consecutive drivers’ titles to his name and 78 wins.
Loeb excelled as a gymnast before turning his attention to motor sport in 1995. He won the French Citroen Saxo Trophy in 1999 which brought him to the attention of Citroen Sport boss and career mentor Guy Frequelin.
In 2001 he underlined his potential by finishing second in a guest appearance in a factory Xsara WRC at Rally Sanremo and signed for Citroen in 2002. Loeb took his first win that year at Rallye Deutschland and in 2003 he won three rallies and missed out on his first world title by only one point.
He won six rallies in 2004 to begin his remarkable title run and the following year he became the only driver to win 10 rallies in a season en route to his second crown. Title number three came in 2006 at the wheel of a private Kronos-run Xsara, despite missing three rallies after falling from his mountain bike and breaking his arm.
In 2007 Loeb was back with Citroen Sport in the new C4 WRC and won his fourth crown, adding a fifth in 2008 after another vintage year when he won 11 rallies.
His 2009 title was a less easy ride. After a storming start with five wins from five rallies, Loeb suffered a torrid mid-season run, and eventually took the title by a point after a last round scrap with Mikko Hirvonen.
Normal service was resumed in 2010 after eight more wins and he added two more titles in 2011 and 2012. He completed only a partial programme in 2013, bowing out amid emotional scenes at his home event in Alsace, the region where he was born.