Go back a few days and nobody knew for sure whether Sebastien Loeb would be back on the rally stage next year. The seven-time world champion has little left to prove, and with new manufacturer-backed teams joining the paddock from Mini and Volkswagen, the competition looks to get that much more fierce. But, after an unusually long period of contemplation, Loeb and Citroën – the French team for whom he's driven since joining the WRC in 1999 – have announced a renewal of their contract for another two years.

The deal secures Loeb as well as his longtime co-driver Daniel Elena (pictured together above) for the 2012 season, with an option 2013. Loeb reportedly doesn't see himself staying in the WRC through 2014, but there's no telling what the temptation of a tenth title could bring should he prove able to continue his complete domination of the championship for the past eight years into another couple of titles. Follow the jump for the official announcement, which tellingly comes from the manufacturer as opposed to the team.
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SÉBASTIEN LOEB CONTINUES HIS CAREER WITH CITROËN

Citroën and Sébastien Loeb have decided to continue their fantastic sporting relationship into the 2012 and 2013 FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) seasons.

Seven-time World Champion Sébastien Loeb, who has been with Citroën since 2001, has decided to continue his collaboration with the French make for another two seasons, and fight for more victories at the wheel of the DS3 WRC with his faithful co-driver, Daniel Elena.

Loeb is already bubbling with enthusiasm about this new challenge: "With the arrival of other manufacturers in the championship, the competition is going to get tougher in the years to come. The rule changes concerning the starting order coming in 2012 mean all the drivers will be fighting on a level playing field. To take the fight to them I'm putting my trust in Citroën, a team I know inside out, and also the DS3 WRC, the car that I helped set up with Citroën Racing."

Frédéric Banzet, the Citroën General Manager, commented: "Sébastien Loeb is a great ambassador for Citroën. Today, his image and ours are intimately linked. He incarnates the daring, sporting spirit and the love of competition, values that are very dear to us. We're proud of his loyalty to Citroën, and of the fact that he's continuing his career with the team that's supported him since his debut."


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 13 Comments
      throwback
      • 3 Years Ago
      A true talent who can win on every surface, it would be nice if some of the other drivers could give him a run for the title.
        Leather Bear
        • 3 Years Ago
        @throwback
        The other "Seb" (Ogier) has come close. With a bit more maturity and experience for M. Ogier and a bit more age on M. Loeb, it could happen (but Loeb will probably retire before then...).
      Redline
      • 3 Years Ago
      Loeb is one of the best drivers that ever lived. I would even venture to say that he is the best driver that ever lived. Better even than Schumi.
        Typhon
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Redline
        Loeb is dominating in WRC but not "the best driver ever lived". What about Senna, Fangio, Moss etc?
          Redline
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Typhon
          Yes they are all good, but Loeb is pretty damn spectacular.
        Elmo
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Redline
        Fanboy, much? He's not the greatest. Most of his championships were done with a field that only had one major competitor for Loeb. It usually helps when there's only 1 other manufacturer that's competitive along one that just started and is still trying to tune their car in. If he wins the 2013 title, I'll be saying he's one of the greatest drivers. Until then, he doesn't have much competition other than Ford and maybe Mini (next year). I have a feeling Mini and VW are going to be quite competitive in 2013.
      Rampant
      • 3 Years Ago
      Great, we have to put up with him for two more years...
        Rampant
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Rampant
        Dont you think WRC is getting pretty predictable? "Loeb will win almost if not every rally and once again become champ" Its been the same thing over and over for years. WRC is becoming the Sebastien Loeb show. Thank goodness for the IRC APRC BRC and other rallies are around to keep the sport interesting and competitive.
        Redline
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Rampant
        You remind me of those whiners who QQ'd all day long when Schumacher dominated F1 with Ferrari. The guy has insane amounts of talent and you bitch about it. Go watch women's ice dancing or something, I'm sure the competition is much closer there for your liking.
        TsarBomba
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Rampant
        Although I respect Loeb's talent, I really yearn for the WRC pre-Loeb. I miss Gronholm in the the 206, Richard Burns, Colin McRae, Solberg, Sainz... and again, before that group, all the way back. The races were exciting, dramatic, and kept you into the season. As a lifelong rally fan (since watching GroupB at the Olympus Rally as a kid), the WRC has become predictable and the racing is not exciting. So many of the good drivers and teams are gone that made things so special. Loeb is fast, and yeah, it is great to watch a fast driver... but c'mon man! Seven years of watching the same dude win over and over with no competition becomes boring - and I'd argue if it could even be called racing at that point. Talent is pointless without challenge.
          Elmo
          • 3 Years Ago
          @TsarBomba
          You forgot about Tommi Makkinen. It seemed that the WRC became quite predictable when we lost RB and McRae and Gronholm went off to other motorsports.
      Paul Hamilton
      • 3 Years Ago
      No denying his talent but like Schumi in his prime, it makes for a really crummy event. I was going to start watching WRC again next year. Now I won't.
      • 3 Years Ago
      [blocked]
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