Sébastien Loeb signed off on his first season with Hyundai Motorsport with victory at last weekend’s Rallye du Var in the south of France.
Co-driven in an i20 World Rally Car by his girlfriend Laurene Godey, Loeb beat Škoda Fabia R5 driver Nikolay Gryazin by 1min 02.2sec.
The event was hit hard by rainstorms which forced organisers to abandon much of Saturday’s action and seven of the 14 stages planned through the Var region were lost.
Nine-time world champion Loeb understood the difficulties facing the organisers and sympathised with the decision.
He said: “It was raining a lot. Shakedown was not so bad, but already on the first stage (on Friday) the conditions were a bit tricky. But it was getting more and more and then the last stage on Friday was completely in the night with big fog and a lot of watersplashes. This was complicated.
“The first stage on Saturday was just like a river, it was nearly undriveable and it was no other choice to cancel the day. The water was just flowing across the road on the road sections and then it was undriveable in the stages.
“It’s a shame for the organiser and for us to be in this position, but it’s like this and they had no other choice. Rallye du Var is an event I always enjoy. The roads are very nice and it’s run in an area where, usually, we get some good weather. But last weekend was really complicated.”
Loeb started six rounds in this year’s WRC with third place at Copec Rally Chile the highlight of his maiden season in an i20. Away from the WRC, he has tackled five national-level events in a Hyundai and won four.
Hyundai will be back in action at next week’s Monza Rally where Dani Sordo and Andreas Mikkelsen will each drive an i20 R5.