Sébastien Loeb hoping to challenge for title after Argentina win
Nine-time World Rally champion Sébastien Loeb leaves Termas de Río Hondo second in the standings, five points behind his Citroën team-mate José María López, after winning the second race from eighth on the grid, comfortably holding off his team-mate for his third career victory in the WTCC.
Loeb secured third in the first race completing the podium lock-out of the three factory Citroëns behind López and Yvan Muller in an uneventful race up front, while a great start in race two saw him up four spots by the first corner, and quickly able to pick off the Chevrolet of Tom Coronel, the Honda of Gabriele Tarquini and then capitalise on a mistake by team-mate Ma Qing Hua to grab the lead on lap two.
“For sure I’m really happy to start the season like this,” said Loeb. “The first race I started third and kept the position, and in the second race I started eighth and I had a good start. In the first corner I tried to push and be aggressive but not too much, and after the first lap I saw there were not so many drivers around so we were second or third at this point.
“Then I managed to pass for the lead as I was pushing behind Ma and he made a mistake, and then there was the safety car, and I thought Pechito (López) was third at this point and then I had him right behind me, and when you have Pechito behind you, you don’t feel confident as he has incredible speed; so I knew I had to push and keep a bit of space so he couldn’t get the slipstream.”
On the concept of challenging for the title, Loeb admitted it was too early to call, but hopes to be in the running in his second year.
“It’s difficult to know really,” he said. “It was the same start last year in Marrakech, I also won the second race, so I hope I continue with better pace than I did last year. I have more experience for sure, so I hope to be able to fight for the championship. I still have less experience than some of the other drivers, but I hope I have enough to improve and keep on fighting for the victories.”