M-SPORTTARGETSLOEB

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Motor Sport News - - Rally News - By David Evans

M-sport Ford World Rally Team prin­ci­pal Mal­colm Wil­son will talk to Se­bastien Loeb in an ef­fort to fi­nally bring the nine­time World Rally cham­pion to his Bri­tish team.

Loeb’s fu­ture re­mains un­clear af­ter Peu­geot’s de­ci­sion to with­draw from World Ral­ly­cross – a de­ci­sion Loeb says he had no idea was com­ing.

While Loeb won’t com­mit to a full pro­gramme of ral­lies next sea­son, the French­man is un­der­stood to be keen to talk about the po­ten­tial for se­lected events.

PSA Group CEO Car­los Tavares was quick to point out to Mo­tor­sport

News that Loeb re­mained un­der con­tract with Peu­geot-citroen, but Wil­son said he would be mak­ing con­tact to talk to Loeb once again.

Loeb con­firmed to MN that he will be happy to talk to the Bri­ton about next sea­son ( see side­bar).

Loeb’s coun­try­man Se­bastien Ogier will de­part M-sport at the end of the year, hav­ing helped the Bri­tish squad dom­i­nate the WRC with both ti­tles last sea­son. Cur­rently, Wil­son has no re­place­ment for Ogier – but said Loeb would be the per­fect man.

“I’ve al­ways been a big fan of him and what he can do,” Wil­son said. “We’ve seen that pace and po­ten­tial on the three ral­lies he’s done again this year. It would be ridicu­lous not to talk about what could be pos­si­ble now. Who knows what can hap­pen, but I would be very, very in­ter­ested in him com­ing back to our place and hav­ing a run in the car.”

Wil­son is also will­ing to take Loeb on a part-pro­gramme. “I un­der­stand his rea­sons why he might not want to do the whole year,” he said, “but I have no doubt we could make this work for him as well as for us.”

Loeb tested an M-sport Ford Fo­cus RS WRC in Greystoke in 2005 with the pos­si­bil­ity of join­ing the team in 2006 when Citroen was tak­ing a sab­bat­i­cal from the WRC. “It was fan­tas­tic to see him in the car at that time, said Wil­son. “We knew what he wanted and we knew we were go­ing to find the money to do it. But in the end he wanted to stay with Citroen – I think by then he knew that 2006 would be an in­terim year and they made a com­mit­ment for a longer-term with the new car for 2007. He was a French driver in a French car with a French team.”

French­man turned down M-sport in ’05 for Kronos

Loeb and Wil­son dis­cussed WRC deal in 2005

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