Sébastien Loeb reflects on a competitive first season in the WTCC

Sébastien Loeb finished sixth in both races in Macau, having dropped away from a potential podium position in race one after a mistake at Lisboa. The nine-time World Rally champion finished third in the drivers’ championship in his debut season in the WTCC, and for 2015 will bring his team, Sébastien Loeb Racing into the championship with a pair of customer Citroën C-Elysée WTCCs.

“I lost some places in both starts,” said Loeb to TouringCarTimes. “I lost one place in race one, but then I tried really hard to pass Michelisz as I saw López going away, but I made a little mistake and let a few cars past, but that’s life.

“In the second race I had a good start, but at the first corner I was on the outside of (Tom) Coronel, but he closed me up to the barrier so I had to lift a little bit which let the car behind through, so I lost a few places on the first lap, but I had some good overtaking and came back to sixth, but I’d lost it all at the start.”

Reflecting on his first year on the championship, Loeb is happy with his pace, having taken two race victories, and briefly a pole position in France until he was excluded due to an irregularity with the car’s cut-off valve, but admits that his developing area is racing with the pack, particularly at the start of races.

“It’s been OK for me. The pace I have in qualifying is good, I’m often fighting with Yvan and Pechito, and they are probably the two best drivers in the Championship at the moment, so to be able to fight with them is good. I miss a little bit of experience on the first lap with the fights between all the cars. It’s difficult for me as these guys sometimes have 20 years of experience, so it’s difficult for me to catch up.”

It was officially confirmed yesterday that in addition to their GT and Porsche programmes, Loeb’s team Sébastien Loeb Racing will join the WTCC next season with two of this year’s specification Citroën C-Elysée WTCCs, with drivers to be confirmed at a later date.

Although Loeb will be the team owner, the Frenchman has said he will not have any day-to-day involvement of the team trackside during race weekends, leaving that to the team’s manager Dominique Heintz.

“I have a team manager who will be taking care of the team every day, so I will not be involved during the weekends, so I can my focus on my job here”, he said.

“My team always tries to improve year after year, to have some programmes and interesting things to do. I’m happy to do this championship because it’s a World Championship, and working with Citroën which have been my team for a long time, so it should be interesting.”