Loeb, the nine-time champion is trimming his roster of events next year as he prepares to make a full-time switch to circuit racing in 2014. However, he reckons leading Citroen drivers Mikko Hirvonen and Dani Sordo have what it takes to secure more success for the make.
“Citroen will manage without me next year,” Loeb told Motorsport News. “If it is completely ready and on the level of Citroen then [Jari-Matti Latvala and Sebastien Ogier at] Volkswagen can have some fight, but if the car is not completely ready - because Citroen has a lot of experience of all the rallies - for sure, it will be difficult for Volkswagen to be on the same level immediately.”
Despite Loeb’s prediction, Citroen Total Abu Dhabi World Rally Team head Yves Matton’s fears life without his number one pilot.
“For sure when you lose Sebastien Loeb, who is nine-time world rally champion, you are concerned,” said Matton in an interview with WRC.com. “But I would not say I am worried because the drivers will change in nearly all the teams next year so it’s a different game. We have a car doing very well the job, fast and reliable. We will just need to learn a little bit to manage the championship in a different way next year.”