Thursday 29 November 2018

Sébastien Loeb signs off with a third place finish in Cape Town.

Sébastien Loeb in front of the Team Peugeot Total garage.
PHOTO CREDIT: JunaidSamodien
Sébastien Loeb has signed off his World RX Championship career with Team Peugeot Total on a high, claiming a third place finish in Cape Town. 
The Frenchman claimed his 7th podium from 12 events in 2018, which includes the victory in Belgium. 

At the start of the 2018 season. Team Peugeot Total introduced a baseline Peugeot 208 WRX Supercar, but only introduced the evolution of its baseline specification at the Swedish round in late June. 

The new Peugeot 208 WRX Evo showed some strong speed, but the team were working on ironing out the minor kinks. At the Canadian round of the World RX championship, both Loeb and Timmy Hansen stood on the podium for the team.

Loeb went on to claim a podium in Latvia, and claimed a third place finish at the season finale in Cape Town.

“The car was good here [World RX of South Africa], very fast, but we already proved that throughout the year," said Loeb. "We have been working hard on this programme, made significant changes to the Peugeot 208 WRX in mid-season, and I think for our first official season we put in a good performance."

On Saturday in Cape Town, Loeb claimed victory in the first qualifying round, and a fifth place finish in the second qualifying round, which saw him claim the overnight lead. 

Sébastien did not hold back on Sunday, but finished second in the qualifying 3 and 4 heats behind the 2018 World Champion Johan Kristoffersson. With both Loeb and Kristoffersson tied on qualifying points... Who would take the top qualifiers spot?? The authorities performed a count back on the number of wins, and Johan Kristoffersson claimed the top qualifiers spot. 

Loeb finished second in semi-final 2 and booked his place the final. 

"In this last race, we were again very competitive and in the fight from start to finish,"  the Frenchman said. "It was a good weekend and 3rd overall is a good result, especially as everything is always so linked to that first corner, and it was messy again in the final." 

Sébastien Loeb has been the only driver able to deprive Johan Kristoffersson of a clean sweep of wins this season. "I am honestly happy about today and about this season," says Loeb. "Just one victory this year is still one victory!"

In October, Peugeot announced that they will withdrawal from the World Rallycross Championship at the end of the 2018 season, which has left the Hansen brothers and Loeb without a race seat for 2019. However, the Frenchman has set his sights on other challenges and a possible re-entry into the World RX championship with a privateer team. 

"I don’t know what I will do next year: for sure it wasn’t great news about the end of the programme, but I will find some other challenges, probably as a privateer,” he concludes.

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