Loeb has been the benchmark performer in the WRC for almost a decade and starts Rallye de France Alsace this week on the verge of claiming a ninth WRC title with the factory Citroen team.
His former team-mate and archrival Sebastien Ogier wanted Loeb to carry on full time so he can go up against his more experienced countryman when he fronts Volkswagen’s maiden World Rally Car campaign from next season.
“Everybody wants him to continue because he’s making the championship interesting for us, pushing us to the top,” said Ogier, the winner in Alsace last season when an engine failure eliminated Loeb. “He’s a fantastic driver and we really wanted the challenge to be there.”
Ford team boss Malcolm Wilson said: “I’m running out of words to describe how good he is but I don’t want him to stop because it’s always been my target to beat him. He’s stopped [our team] probably winning eight titles so I want to beat him while he’s still there competing.”
Loeb’s current Citroën team-mate Mikko Hirvonen has lost out on two final-round world championship deciders to Loeb, falling sort in 2009 and 2011. Of the 38-year-old legend, Hirvonen said: “His strongest point is his constancy. You can be faster than him but he doesn’t have any stage where he loses two or three seconds. He’s just so consistent.”