Loeb’s Citroën return

Nine-time World Rally Champion Sebastien Loeb will rejoin Citroën Racing in the coming weeks to test the squad's C3 World Rally Car.

The 43-year-old Frenchman, who claimed 78 wins with Citroën in his record-breaking WRC career, will drive the car for one day on asphalt next month.

The announcement was made this afternoon by PSA Motorsport, the group in charge of Peugeot Sport, Citroën Racing and DS Performance.

It said the alliance between its brands would enable Loeb to get back behind the wheel of a WRC car and continue his current programmes with Peugeot.

PSA said it was was 'an opportunity for Citroën Racing to get valuable technical feedback on the C3 WRC from the great champion.'

Loeb said: "At the same time as competing in cross-country and the World Rallycross Championship with Peugeot, I can bring my experience to Citroën by testing the C3."

"I can't wait to get back into a WRC and test how the technology has changed in that discipline! I'm still passionate about rallying. Of all the disciplines I've tried since I retired 5 years ago, it's the sensation of rallying that I love most."

Introduced at the start of the year, and built to the new World Rally Car specifications, the C3 has failed to match the success of previous Citroën WRC models like the Xsara, C4 and DS 3.

Despite taking a year out of WRC competition in 2016 to prepare for its comeback, Citroën has claimed just one win from the eight rounds so far this season and is ranked last in the FIA manufacturers' standings.

Kris Meeke scored Citroën's only win in Mexico but he was dropped for this month's Polish encounter after a series of crashes. The team drafted in Andreas Mikkelsen to replace him but Meeke returns for this week's Neste Rally Finland.  

Earlier this month, team boss Yves Matton acknowledged that "directions taken during development of the C3 WRC were not fit for purpose" and that staff working for new technical director Christophe Besse were working on "upgrades that would provide the car with greater versatility."

"The priority now is to prepare for 2018," he said. "Some of the upgrades will need several months of development work and they won't be ready to be introduced until the start of next season."

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