Invited by Citroën Racing to compete as a guest driver in the 2018 WRC Mexico, Corsica and Catalonia events, Loeb arrived at the start of the Spanish-based rally with no expectations other than to enjoy himself, especially given the lack of pace the French manufacturer’s DS3 WRC car had displayed throughout the season. Aged 44 and not having competed in a WRC event in five years, Loeb suggested he was content to watch youngsters such as current championship leader Thierry Neuville (Hyundai) and defending champion Sébastien Ogier (Ford) duke it out for line honours.
With Neuville suffering the effects of an accident during the event’s shakedown stages, it was left to the Toyota duo of Ott Tänak and Jari-matti Latvala to set the early pace. Through mastering changeable weather conditions, as well as some misfortune on the part of other teams, Loeb remained within touch of the leaders after the first few days of the rally.
To the surprise of all spectators (and surely the dismay of the current WRC field), via an inspired tyre selection and a show of driving class on the final day, Loeb propelled his DS3 WRC to the top of the timing sheets with just a few remaining stages. Despite a late charge from countryman Ogier and a small mistake of his own on the penultimate stage, Loeb handed Citroën its first win of the 2018 season. Strolling off to prepare for his next challenge – the 2019 Dakar Rally – Loeb cemented his position as one of the greatest drivers of the modern era.