Saluting Sebastien Loeb: 9 questions to the 9-time champion

Sebastien Loeb's 75th victory in the FIA WRC on Rallye de France Alsace yesterday was enough to make the 38-year-old French legend WRC champion for a ninth time. Here's what he had to say.


Is this as good as it gets? “It couldn’t get any better. I have still the memory from two years ago and when we won here then - it was the best memory. And now again, on the last few rallies I thought maybe it was possible to do it here, but to do it is something else.”

Was it a foregone conclusion that you’d win? “When we start the rally a lot of people were saying we would win again... but it’s not easy - we had to fight. The conditions we really difficult on Sunday morning. It wasn’t easy to keep the car on the road, especially in our position when we didn’t have to push too hard.”

How did you feel when you reached the finish of the final stage? “When it’s finished, it’s an incredible moment. In Haguenau, my hometown, it was really a relief and the feeling was incredible!”

The amount of spectators here this year has been incredible, were you surprised by the numbers? “It feels incredible. The sensation when we drive the road sections was unbelievable. There was one stage which we were using for the first time yesterday, it was people everywhere. We didn’t believe a few years ago when we came here for the first time that it would be like this; we knew it would be some people but not like this. The atmosphere is magic.”

And this is your final year of true competition after you announced you will retire... “At the moment, I don’t think so much to this. At the moment, I think to what we live, we will see next year. I try to enjoy what happens, this is the last one [world championship] in rally. It’s not an easy decision to stop driving like that, a few years I think about it and I know one day that we have to decide. So we decide this year not to continue. For a few rallies, yes, but not the whole season. To take this decision I needed something else, another challenge. We spoke to Citroen and finally we decided we want to go together in WTCC and this helps me.”

There has been some speculation that you might do a selected programme and fight for a tenth title? “You think it’s possible with five rallies?”

But it’s you, Seb... “The plan is not this. The plan is for Monte Carlo - this is an important rally for me and the team. But when you see the atmosphere when it’s like this, it’s hard to say we do four [WRC rounds] and not this one, maybe we do this one - to finish my career here would be great.”

It wasn’t an easy start to the final day with all the rain - what was it like? “We were aquaplaning a lot and, as there was more and more water on the road, I really took it easy. I didn’t have to win the rally to secure the championship.”

How much of a threat was Latvala on this rally? “I know that Latvala is now very competitive on Tarmac and I had to push really hard to stay in front. I was not exactly taking it easy, but I was not taking any unnecessary risks either.”