/ Motorsport

Sebastien Loeb will partially retire from the World Rally Championship

Updated: Thursday, 27 Sep 2012 12:04

Sebastien Loeb will opt out of some races in the future
Sebastien Loeb will opt out of some races in the future

Sebastien Loeb is to scale back his involvement in the World Rally Championship from next season as he weighs up options for his future.

The eight-times champion, who can make it nine titles in a row with a strong result on home soil in the Rally France-Alsace next month, has decided to partially retire from the WRC.

Along with co-driver Daniel Elena, Loeb will compete in the season-opening Monte Carlo Rally in January, and then pick and choose his events beyond that.

The 38-year-old Frenchman confirmed the news he first hinted at a few weeks ago as he spoke today at the Paris Motor Show, with a potential move to the World Touring Cars on the cards from 2014 with Citroen.

Citroen Racing have announced Mikko Hirvonen and Jarmo Lehtinen will form their works team for next season in one of three DS3 WRCs to be partly funded by a new partnership with oil-rich Emirati state Abu Dhabi.

Loeb and Elena will join them in a partial racing programme, with the third pairing yet to be announced.

Loeb, who is to become a brand ambassador for Citroen, said today: "We will ease off.

"We will follow a partial programme, and we will be there at the start of the Rally Monte-Carlo."

With regard to the WTCC, Loeb added: "We have thought about a new challenge together with Citroen.

"This is another world championship, and it would allow me to take on this new challenge."

Citroen Racing team principal Yves Matton said: "The role of brand ambassador for Citroen cannot be a passive one for someone as driven as Sebastien.

"This project would give him the opportunity to pursue his career in track racing with the support of the manufacturer with which he has worked since his competitive debut.

"For Citroen, the WTCC would enable us to showcase Creative Technologie in major markets, such as China and Brazil.

"The final decision regarding this programme is linked to the changes in the FIA regulations and, obviously, the determination of our current and future partners to support us in this project."

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