Nine-time World Rally champion Sebastien Loeb will race in the World Rallycross Championship for a third season next year after Peugeot announced that it will continue with its programme in the series.
The announcement puts an end to doubt over Peugeot’s rallycross future beyond the conclusion of 2017. Although no timeframe has been announced, references to electric rallycross in a statement suggest that Peugeot sees a longterm future in the sport.
World RX promotor IMG revealed recently that the addition of an electric category in the World RX structure wouldn’t happen until 2020 at the earliest. Peugeot stated that World RX’S “global ambitions” tie in with its business growth plan outside Europe and that “the brand is ready to support the evolutions in E-WRX as part of its technological plan, which aims to offer 80 per cent of the models in electrified version by 2023”.
Peugeot brand chief executive, Jean-philippe Imparato said: “The brand wants to be involved in a new challenge with the idea of accompanying its own energy transition but also to create a strong and unique link with new customers and the new generation. The E-WRX is the perfect fit for this strategy.
“The goal of the 2018 season will be to win the title. To this end, we are strengthening the developments initiated by Peugeot Sport and studying the sports management system implemented by the Hansen family since 2014.”
It is not known if the relationship with Kenneth Hansen’s squad, which has partnered Peugeot Sport since it entered World RX in 2014 and won the Teams’ Championship in 2015, will continue into next season, or if current Team Peugeot-hansen drivers Timmy Hansen and Kevin Hansen will be retained.
“It’s a great opportunity to launch myself into a new electrifying experience and to be even closer to my fans with the WRX,” said Loeb. “I look forward to discovering this new frontier.”