Friday | 27 Jan 2023

Why Loubet isn’t dwelling on his Monte-Carlo retirement

Pierre-Louis Loubet may have been the only top-flight driver not to make the finish of Rallye Monte-Carlo, but he won’t be dwelling on his fraught weekend.

For the first time in his career, the Frenchman is contesting all 13 rounds of the FIA World Rally Championship with British squad M-Sport Ford. His campaign got underway at round one last week, but Loubet left Monaco without scoring a single point.

Loubet’s problems started on Friday morning’s final test when the power steering on his Puma completely failed. With no service between loops, he was forced to manhandle the car through the afternoon’s remaining three tests in the French Alps, ending the day down in 29th overall.

Any hopes of a comeback drive were quickly flattened the following morning when Loubet overcooked tight left-hander in the opener, hitting a bridge which caused terminal rear suspension damage. The final nail in the coffin came on Sunday morning when the 25-year-old went OTL after spending 25 minutes trying to fix a water leak.

It was, by all accounts, a nightmare start - but Loubet isn’t as miserable about the whole affair as you’d expect him to be.

On the stages he did manage to complete unhindered (such as SS16, where he was fifth-fastest), the youngster felt pacey in his Puma. That, he says, is something to be happy about.

“You have some weekends when you are just off the pace, and that's much worse than anything else,” Loubet told “I am just disappointed because we tried so hard and at the end [we got] nothing - not even a point.

“But, if you told me last week that on my first Monte, I would be able to be [setting similar pace] with Ott [Tänak, team-mate], I would sign immediately. Okay, it was his first time in the car, but he knows the stages.

“We showed that the pace was there, but we had, unfortunately, very bad luck this weekend all round. Honestly, there's not a lot we can do, but I think I made a good step on Tarmac now.”

Loubet’s focus now switches to Rally Sweden (9 - 12 February) - an event he has only started once previously, back in 2017.