WRC legend Loeb to make comeback in Portugal

Rally News

The most successful rally driver of all time, Sébastien Loeb, will return in Portugal for M-Sport

Sebastien Loeb m-Sport Ford Monte Carlo Rally

After a successful one-off Monte, M-Sport now has Loeb for Portugal


WRC legend Sébastien Loeb will return to the world championship for the upcoming Portuguese round, it has been announced.

The most successful WRC driver of all time famously won a thrilling duel with fellow rally legend Sébastien Ogier this year in Monaco –  both undertaking a part-time 2022 schedule – with the former now confirmed for the Portugal event with M-Sport and the latter likely to do the same with Toyota.

“Driving the Puma is one of my favourite rally memories; winning Monte Carlo after such a long time was incredible,” Loeb said. “The team worked really well, allowing us to claim our 80th rally win. From my first test with this car, I immediately had a very good feeling and I enjoy driving with so much power with the hybrid system. It’s a great car, a great team and we celebrated an incredible moment together.

“Portugal was an empty space in my calendar and it’s a gravel rally, I have competed on this version of the rally in 2019 so I have a base of pacenotes from some of the stages. That was one of the reasons for choosing Portugal, the other was I wanted to do a gravel rally; I like driving on gravel so it was a very straightforward choice.”

Sebastien Loeb and Ford Puma in the snow at 2022 Monte Carlo Rally

Loeb will pair up once more with Galmiche


Also returning will be Loeb’s co-driver Isabel Galmiche, who after their win this year became the first woman to stand on a WRC podium since Fabrizia Pons in 1997, also at Monte.

WRC is looking to mark Portugal as the 50th anniversary of the championship, with several activities planned – securing both Sébs will no doubt only add to the celebratory atmosphere.

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Despite apparently retiring from full-time competition at the end of 2012, Loeb is currently one of the busiest men in motor sport. This year the nine-time WRC title-winner has already competed in the Dakar Rally – finishing second –, taken the Monte win, finished on the podium in Saudi Arabia for Lewis Hamilton’s X44 Extreme E team and has recently been announced for a one-off appearance at the opening round of this year’s DTM championship.

Speaking to Motor Sport after that incredible win in the Monaco mountains, M-Sport team principal Richard Millener articulated the effect of having a driver like Loeb in the team.

“I think when the team sees a name like Séb come into the ranks for one rally, it helps raise motivation without actually doing anything,” he said.

“They respect Séb – nine times champion, one of the most successful ever drivers in WRC, and he’s choosing to drive with us because he feels the car and the team that we’ve got can do the job he wants.”

“It was a bit like when Ogier came, it raised our performance overnight without actually changing anything, because people wanted to deliver.”