The reason the driver finishing in first place was so quick to depart was that he had a rather pressing engagement on another continent. So, he departed Turkey and his Citroen Xsara WRC bound for his homeland and a Pescarolo C60.
Loeb was competing in the Le Mans 24 Hours for the first time and the regulations stated that he had to complete a certain number of familiarisation laps and the time to do that was Sunday June 5. Fortunately for Loeb, the rally was all over by lunchtime, allowing him to jump in a helicopter out of the service park and away to the airport where a private jet did the rest.
Just hours after flicking the switch to turn his Citroen off, he pushed the button to ignite the fire deep inside the V10 Judd just behind him at Le Mans. Wearing the same racing boots he’d pulled on in Turkey, Loeb pedaled the Pescarolo into a miserable, wet night at La Sarthe and impressed mightily with his immediate speed.
Unfortunately for Loeb, a week later, the race didn’t go quite as well as he’d expected. For his part, the world rally champion acquitted himself brilliantly with consistently quick lap times, but his team-mate Soheil Ayari crashed after 288 laps.
Twelve months on and Loeb was back in France, finishing second overall with Eric Helary and Franck Montagny.
For those left behind in Antalya that Sunday in June, there was another Loeb victory to report. But the Frenchman hadn’t dominated the Kemer-based round of the FIA World Rally Championship. He won 10 of the 17 stages run (the first was cancelled) and beat Petter Solbeg by 59.6 seconds - but Gigi Galli did lead the event for a single stage in his factory Mitsubishi.