Sebastien Loeb: Citroen Total World Rally Team

steve spackmanCorrespondent IJanuary 18, 2009

Nationality:

French

Date of birth:

26/02/1974

Team:

Citroen Total World Rally Team

Co-driver:

Daniel Elena

Championship titles:

WRC Drivers' Champion 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2008. FIA Super 1600 Drivers' Cup Champion in 2001

WRC debut:

New Zealand 2004

WRC wins:

47

Website:

www.sebastienloeb.com

Why support him?

  • Look at the stats. Where do you start?
  • In spite of his success he's refreshingly down to earth
  • In his spare time he likes driving Formula One and Le Mans Prototype Sportscars. He's quick in both.
  • When celebrating, he has been known to perform a standing back flip from his car's bonnet

Career highlights:

2008: Fifth WRC title. Record number of wins in one season (11)

2007: Fourth WRC

2006: Injured after a fall from a mountain bike but still gained his third consecutive WRC title

2005: Record-setting run to second title with Citroen, scoring 10 wins (including six in a row)

2004: Wins WRC title with six wins for Citroen

2003: Runner-up in WRC with three wins for Citroen

2002: Takes first WRC win on Rallye Deutschland

2001: Wins FIA Super 1600 Championship with Citroen

2000: Two-wheel drive class French gravel title

1999: Citroen Saxo Trophy Champion

1998: Two wins in Citroen Saxo Trophy

Career summary:

Sebastien Loeb is the Michael Schumacher of rallying. Both are glacially cool, totally focused and sublimely quick in all conditions. Loeb's rise to stardom has been even more rapid than Schumacher's rise in Formula One, however. In his first full year in 2003, Loeb almost took the title. In his second year, he easily clinched the crown with a record-matching six wins. In his third, he broke all records with 10 wins (including six in a row) to truly seal his reputation as rallying's top dog. In 2006 he took his third consecutive title without even contesting the last four rounds of the championship after he broke his shoulder falling off a mountain bike.

Despite a background as a gymnast, Loeb developed a bug for rallying in his late teens. In 1998 he took two wins in the French Citroen Saxo Trophy series before securing the title the following year. He was nurtured by the French team and its figurehead, rally legend Guy Frequelin, through the French national series and the Junior Super 1600 class of the WRC, which he won in 2001. At the same time he contested several WRC events in Citroen's Xsara WRC, proving to be just as adept at the top level.

In 2002 Loeb scored his first WRC win in Germany, but over 2003 and 2004 rapidly developed his speed and consistency on gravel and snow to become an all-round performer with wins on all surface types. He proved his class in 2003 by chasing Subaru's Petter Solberg to the title until the final round, and went one better in 2004 with a performance that was one of the best of recent years. No-one expected the domination of 2005, though, as he broke record after record and proved himself to be one of rallying's all-time greats.

Loeb was relegated to a private team Citroen Xsara WRC for 2006, as the French marque took a sabbatical before its return in 2007. The Frenchman, however, took a third consecutive drivers' title with Kronos Racing and achieved the status of the most successful rally driver in history when he beat the record of 26 career victories set by Carlos Sainz.

In 2007, Loeb was back with Citroen Sport driving the new C4 WRC. Although it was a new car, this didn't get in the way of the Frenchman as he drove to a fourth consecutive crown. Unfortunately for the competition, 2008 turned out to be another vintage year for Loeb, who broke his own record for wins in one season by taking 11 - including Finland and Wales Rally GB, which to that point had remained the two 'classic' rallies he hadn't cracked.

Ending 2008 with a career tally of 47 WRC victories, Loeb is easily the WRC's most successful driver - and this year he's aiming for a sixth consecutive drivers' title...