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Thu 10 Feb 2022

M-Sport Ford wants four more from Loeb

M-Sport Ford hopes to land Sébastien Loeb’s services for a further four rounds of this year’s FIA World Rally Championship.

M-Sport managing director Malcolm Wilson wouldn’t be drawn on which events they might be, but he’s keen to see his Rallye Monte-Carlo winner back aboard a Ford Puma Rally1 again soon.

“Four events is what we’re aiming at,” said Wilson, “and that’s all I can tell you right now. We’re working on everything at the moment.

“Obviously, Sweden’s not one of them and he’s said himself that it’s [a no] to Croatia. Let’s see what we can do, but the one thing is sure – we’re very much looking forward to seeing him and Isabelle [Galmiche, co-driver] back with us.

The 47-year-old nine-time world champion made a spectacular debut for the British squad when he outgunned fellow Frenchman Sébastien Ogier to win last month’s opening round of the WRC’s hybrid-powered era in a thrilling duel.

“What Séb did in Monte-Carlo was so, so impressive,” Wilson added. “When you sit back and think about everything, it’s even better. To think he’s been away from the event for a year, he’d come in from the Dakar Rally without much time in the car and with a co-driver he’d never competed with at WRC level…

“I came close to signing Séb back in 2005 and I can now understand and see what we missed. He’s something very special. From the first time he sat in the prototype car, he was really comfortable and happy with the car and that’s never changed.

“Do you know, during the event, even though the conditions changed a little bit, he didn’t make one change to the car’s set-up. Nothing. Not even a suspension click. That’s probably one of the most impressive things about him.”

The WRC series leader will miss the next two rounds, but rumours point to a possible return at the season’s opening gravel fixture at Vodafone Rally de Portugal in May – an event at which he took back-to-back successes in 2007 and 2008.

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