18 Nov 08
As our series of features on Citroen's success in the WRC continues so the list of the team's accomplishments grows. The most recent milestone came on Rally Japan when Sebastien Loeb won a record fifth world rallying title, surpassing Tommi Makinen as the only driver to win five titles in a row.
Loeb has remained loyal to Citroen since his WRC career started in 1999 and he has been the team's top scorer by a huge margin - securing 46 of Citroen's 52 victories. In previous features about the team's success in the WRC we've looked at its philosophy of building cars and running a team, now we take a look at the man dubbed the 'Michael Schumacher of Rallying'.
Sebastien Loeb quick CV
Date of birth: 26 February 1974
Place of birth: Haguenau, Alsace
Family: Married with one daughter
Lives: Near Lausanne, Switzerland
1995: Rallyes Jeunes (Junior Rallies) organised by the FFSA (French Motorsport Federation) - Finalist
1996: Rallyes Jeunes (Junior Rallies) - Finalist
1997: Regional and national rallies with Ambition Sport Auto team. Voted 'Most promising driver of the year' by French magazine 'Echappement'
2000: French Rally Champion in two litre, two-wheel drive class. First WRC rally - Tour de Corse (9th)
2001: World Champion Super 1600cc (Citroen Saxo) French Rally champion (Citroen Xsara)
2002: First WRC victory - Rally Deutschland
2003: Three WRC wins - runner up in the drivers' championship
2004: Six WRC wins - World Champion
2005: Ten WRC wins (a record in one season) - World Champion
2006: Eight WRC wins with Citroen backed Kronos team - World Champion
2007: Eight WRC wins with C4 WRC - World Champion
2008: Ten WRC wins (so far) - World Champion
Unlike a lot of professional drivers who were competing almost before they could walk Sebastien's interest in rallying was sparked relatively late at the age of 18. His first taste of competition came a lot earlier but in a completely different field altogether - as a gymnast.
Between the ages of three to fifteen he trained for two hours a day and went on to became four times Alsatian champion and take fifth in the French Championship. By the age of 15, however, the lure of motorbikes and tinkering about with engines brought an end to his gymnastic pursuits and for the next three years he spent his time avoiding studies and larking about in cars and on motorbikes with his friends instead.