Thursday | 25 Sep 2014

France countdown: one to watch

To bring you our customary ‘one to watch’ before Rallye de France Alsace, we head to number ‘57’ on the entry list as we run the rule over FIA Junior World Rally Championship leader Stéphane Lefebvre:

Current form
There is no JWRC driver in better form that the young Frenchman right now, given his victory on Rallye Deutschland’s tricky asphalt stages last month. The 22-year-old has convincingly won three out of the four JWRC events he’s entered so far this season – the only disappointment being his 8th place finish at Rally Finland – and he enjoys a 29-point lead over Martin Koci in the championship standings heading into the penultimate round.

If things go Lefebvre’s way, and you can guarantee he’ll be gunning for this outcome, he could clinch the prestigious JWRC title on home soil. That would be a very proud moment.

Lefebvre won last time out at Rallye Deutschland

Natural talent
Lefebvre is considered a hugely gifted young driver. His natural talents behind the wheel were identified early in his career and it wasn’t long before he was picked up and invited to join the PSA Group’s young driver programmes. 

But he’s made a huge effort to fine-tune his skills in the last year by taking part in various world, European and domestic events. The JWRC was an unknown quantity at the beginning of the season, but winning his first WRC event in Portugal settled Lefebvre’s nerves and helped him to push on. He quickly realised he could win anywhere and that’s exactly what he’s done.

Home advantage
The French love their rallying and Lefebvre has developed quite a following this season as fans have realised he’s the most likely candidate to follow in the footsteps of two of France’s most successful drivers in recent times: Sébastien Loeb and Sébastien Ogier.

Both of the Sebs were nurtured by Citröen and were supported by the governing body of French motorsport, the FFSA, so it’s only right to assume that Lefebvre will have strong support on the Rallye de France Alsace stages next weekend.

Lefebvre is aiming to follow in the footsteps of his mentor

Learning from the master
Lefebvre is young and he’ll be the first to admit he’s got a lot of learning to do. But what a blessing it must be for him to know that he’ll go into Rallye de France Alsace with one of the sport’s best in his corner: Sébastien Loeb.

The multiple world champion is lending his mentoring and driver coaching skills to Lefebvre this season and he’s surely the best placed man to advise the youngster about how to approach the asphalt stages in the Alsace region. After all, the rally is based where Loeb grew up. If any tricky questions crop up during the course of the rally, Loeb is sure to have the answer.

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