Wednesday, January 21, 2015

All Roads lead to Gap! Sébastien Loeb lays down a marker on his return to the WRC

Sebastien Loeb throws down the gauntlet on the shakedown for the opening round of the 2015 World Rally Championship.

Loeb would post the fastest time some four tenths of a second quicker than his Citroen team-mate Kris Meeke.

Loeb had the advantage of a clean road to set his fastest time on the 2.13-mile shakedown stage, Loeb said: "The first run was perfect. After that, the road was a big mess with mud everywhere. I couldn't drive as I would drive if it was clean, so I didn't [push]."

Despite his fastest time on the shakedown Loeb will be running in 14th place when the rally starts tomorrow as he scored no points in last year's championship.

"With the new regulations, we will stay there as well," said Loeb. "Depending on the conditions, maybe it's good [to be 14th] or maybe we have no chance.

"We will see where we are. I can only try my best."

Prior to running the shakedown Loeb had a little moment in his recce car, putting it on its roof after missing a turn off.

A spokesman from the team said: "It wasn't a problem. Sebastien didn't miss any of the recce or anything like that, he was able to change the car and continue straight away."

Ireland’s Kris Meeke was happy with his time, with heavy snow expected overnight Meeke did some experimenting with studded tire to get a feel for the challenges ahead.

VW’s top gun Sebastien Ogier clocked in with the third fastest time 1.1 seconds off Loeb, wi team-mate Andreas Mikkelsen was fourth fastest.

Cars and drivers with make their way to  Gap tomorrow morning to make the official  start of the season with the ceremonial start tomorrow afternoon.

The first stage - a 13-miler from Entrevaux-Rouaine - gets underway at 20:21 local time.