M-Sport keen to extend Loeb WRC deal after Monte success

M-Sport boss Malcolm Wilson says there is “a possibility” that Sebastien Loeb will take part in more WRC rounds this year after his victory at Monte Carlo.

Loeb and co-driver Isabelle Galmiche together achieved a sensational win over reigning champion Sebastien Ogier and new co-driver Benjamin Veillas after Sunday’s final stage was decided.

The nine-time champion’s WRC return came via a one-event deal with M-Sport Ford to pilot a fourth Puma at Monte Carlo, with Loeb admitting ahead of the event that it may be his only outing for the team this year could be.

To secure the drive, Loeb was released from a contract with Prodrive, for which he competes in the Dakar Rally and Extreme E, the latter through Lewis Hamilton’s X44 team.

After claiming his 80th WRC win, making him the oldest driver to claim a win in the Championship, M-Sport is keen to extend its agreement with the Frenchman for further rounds given his busy schedule.

In the post-event press conference, Loeb was asked about his WRC future with M-Sport and remained relatively closed on the subject.

“I’m leading the World Cup now,” he joked, before adding: “We don’t have a plan for the future at the moment.”

Sebastien Loeb, Isabelle Galmiche, M-Sport Ford World Rally Team Ford Puma Rally1

Photo by: Red Bull Content Pool

M-Sport boss Wilson lavished praise on Loeb’s performance and looks forward to seeing him back behind the wheel of the Puma later this year.

“I would really like him to do more laps,” Wilson told Motorsport.com.

“I think he has to go down in history as an athlete at the highest level, it was absolutely incredible that at his age he managed to win at the highest level against the man who had won it eight times before. That’s it .” simply remarkable.

“There’s a possibility, there’s a lot of things to sort out, but we’d love to see him back in the car, especially after here, but we’ll have to see what happens in the next few weeks.”

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Team Principal Richard Millener added: “I mean the whole thing was initially based on this event and we will use the outcome of this event to see what we can do in the future.

“We ticked that box in the briefing and will be working to see what is possible for the rest of the year. It depends on Seb and it depends on a number of things.

“I think realistically we would look at a handful of rallies as he has a busy schedule but lets see you never know in the WRC.”

Wilson also paid tribute to Loeb’s co-driver Galmiche, who became the first woman to stand on the top step of a WRC podium since Fabrizia Pons at the 1997 Monte Carlo Rally.

“Incredible,” he said when asked if he thought about Galmiche’s performance. “To be honest, how she handled it is just remarkable.”

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