Loeb maintains he took no risk in winning last year’s WRC Rally RACC!


Sébastien Loeb and Daniel Elena took a heroic and much needed victory for the Citroen team last year at Rally RACC. At the time it seemed like an inspired tyre choice took the French/Monegasque duo to their ninth win in the Costa Daurada region.

They were lying third at the end of day two – Jari Matti Latvala leading. Sébastien Ogier second. Ott Tanak had lost time with a puncture.

The final day, on SS15 and 16 – the first loop, there had been some rain and most of the drivers went for softs, but Loeb made the last minute switch to hards. 

He was different – perhaps an inspired choice. But not according to the man himself.

“Last year I didn’t take a risk. The choice was true. I am not playing!” 

“I thought the choice was clear! Even Dani knew that it was the choice but he didn’t do it,” Loeb exclaimed this year.

There is no one more successful than Loeb on the Spanish roads and through his French rallying roots, he knows how to read tarmac. 

But for him, the event preparation made the choice clear, even to the point that they had the change point in their plans.

“We had it on paper when we choose the tyre, we tested in these conditions. It was up to them.”

“But I think this year, if we have the same conditions the others will not make the same mistake.”

Theirry Neuville, though was not so convinced, staring down the barrel of the title fight and feeling that taking a risk like that – or at least going against the grain wasn’t going to do him any favours.

“He was the only one who was not fighting for anything. So definitely there was a gamble!” the Belgian said.

“But I remember it well, we were very close to do the same, but when we realised that everybody else was going probably with soft compound, I just went for the same.”

“At least I knew the difference will be smaller if you went for hard and we would have been wrong, I definitely would have lost in the fight for the championship.” 

“So imagine this is going to be probably different stories, at least for the tarmac stages. It should be modified during the weekend.”

Loeb, now in Hyundai colours and supporting Neuville in his fight for the title, and more importantly fighting for the Manufacturer’s Championship has a new story on his mind.

Hyundai is just eight points in the lead, holding off a fast Toyota team. But there has also been inclement weather going into this weekend, with flash flooding hitting the area on Tuesday night.

Loeb though, has few concerns.

“I think it should be better now, the first day on the gravel will have some mud – if that will some problems for us, we will see.”

“It was difficult to see the corner as there was some water on the road. The problem will be that it has changed completely between the recce and the race. ”

But can he repeat his feat of 2018 and become a 10 time WRC Rally RACC winner? He has shown the pace this year for a podium, but is there something more?

“Last year we were able to put everything together. Tanak was leading and had a puncture, so everything is always possible.”  

“But there are a lot of drivers who are in with a chance to win.”

The RacerViews info

By Sam Tickell

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