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