Sébastien Loeb:”Last corner mistake cost me pole position”

Sébastien Loeb completed the Citroën 1-2-3 at Suzuka by claiming third for tomorrow’s Race 1. The Frenchman was just over a tenth shy of José María López, but that was enough to put him in second row.

Speaking of his qualifying session, Loeb explained that he risked not getting into Q3 after a moment between himself and Honda drivers Tiago Monteiro and Mehdi Bennani:”I had to abort my attempt in Q2 and it was a complicated moment. I wanted to use Tiago [Monteiro]’s slipstream but Mehdi Bennani just came in and at 130R he lost the car and I had to brake in the middle of the corner to avoid him. I immediately went back to the pits and changed tyres to perform a clean lap which would allow me into Q3.”

Loeb went on to explain why he missed out on pole position, albeit with a very small margin from his team-mates:
“I had a very good first sector, but in the second one my team-mates were quicker in the second and we were pretty evenly-matched before the final sector. I just braked too late at the last chicane, I missed the apex and probably lost about a tenth there, and that is what cost me the pole position.

“In a tight session such as this has been, locking a wheel can cost you a position. Of course you have to be on the limit to try to do better than drivers such as my team-mates, and I just went a bit too far in the last corner.”

Loeb never scored a pole position this year, despite winning two races this year.