Sebastien Loeb got his debut season in the World Touring Car Championship off to a terrific start at the weekend, with a win and a second place at the opening round in Marrakech.
The nine-time World Rally Champion was driving Citroën’s new C-Elysée racer as part of a three-car squad with team-mates José-María López and Rallye de France regular, Yvan Muller.
Loeb got off to a perfect start with fastest time at Saturday’s first practice session. That afternoon he was second quickest in qualifying, less than a tenth of a second off pole, which was taken by his team-mate ‘Pechito’ Lopez.
Loeb kept this position throughout Sunday’s opening race, with Lopez, Loeb and Muller completing a 1-2-3 for Citroen on its first appearance in the championship.
Loeb started race two from ninth on the grid, but was up to third when the race was red flagged after an accident involving Muller’s car. Loeb fought his way to the front on the restart, while Lopez bagged second to make it a 1-2 for Citroen.
Citroën Racing team principal Yves Matton said the results reminded him of one of his team’s finest hours in the WRC. “After being part of the Loeb/Sainz/McRae treble at the Monte-Carlo Rally in 2003, I am delighted to have witnessed an equally special achievement from Pechito, Seb and Yvan.
"It’s not the same category, or the same era, but there are nevertheless similarities between these two great moments in Citroën Racing’s history,” added Matton.
After the opening round, Loeb is second in the WTCC drivers’ standings on 47 points, one point behind championship leader Lopez.