Tue 31 Jan 2023

Wilson on Loubet: We're going to see more speed from him

M-Sport managing director Malcolm Wilson has praised Pierre-Louis Loubet’s full-time World Rally Championship debut, despite a tricky Rallye Monte-Carlo for the Frenchman.

Loubet is tackling the WRC in its entirety for the first time this year and struggled to make a result stick after a complicated run through round one.

Showing plenty of encouraging split times aboard a factory Ford Puma Rally1 Hybrid, Loubet demonstrated his pace on an event he’d only previously competed on once in a top-class car. Excursions on Friday and Saturday hit Loubet’s overall classification, but Wilson was encouraged by the pace he saw.

“I was disappointed for Pierre-Louis,” he said. “I thought the pace he showed was great – even into that final morning, fastest on the first split up Turini.

“I’m sure we’re going to see more and more speed from him – the progression he made last year was great and I’d expect he’ll take another step on from there, especially when we get to the middle of the season and some of the events he knows a bit better.”

Next week’s Rally Sweden (9 - 12 February) isn’t one of the events where Loubet has vast experience – he’s only done it once and that was in a Citroën DS3 R5 in 2017. Fortunately for Loubet, his new co-driver Nicolas Gilsoul is a former winner of Rally Sweden, taking victory alongside Thierry Neuville in 2018.

Starts: Thursday, July 18, 2024 at 4:31:00 AM
Starts: Friday, July 26, 2024 at 7:00:00 AM
Starts: Saturday, July 27, 2024 at 6:00:00 AM