Citroën may be preparing to withdraw from the World Touring Car Championship. And Sébastien Loeb may have been cut from the team for next year. But that doesn't mean the French driver and automaker will be out of the series completely.

Sébastien Loeb Racing announced that it has renewed the contract of its independent driver Mehdi Bennani for next season, and that it could enter one or more additional cars. Though Loeb himself has been driving for the past couple of seasons for the factory team, his own private outfit fielded another Citroën C-Elysée for Bennani, and supported the fourth works entry driven by Ma Qing Hua. With Citroën cutting its team down to two cars – to be driven by champions José María López and Yvan Muller – Loeb's team looks poised to pick up the slack by fielding additional cars. It has not disclosed which drivers might fill those seats, but it wouldn't be hard to imagine Hua and Loeb himself returning under the privateer banner.

Heading into the final round of the season, factory driver López (the defending champion) holds a commanding lead in the drivers' standings. Loeb sits a distant second, followed closely by four-time champ Muller, with Hua sitting in fourth position in a dominant 1-2-3-4 lineup for Citroën. Bennani sits a close second in the independent standings for the Yokohama Drivers' Trophy behind Norbert Michelisz in the Honda Civic entered by ZengÅ‘ Motorsport.

Loeb, of course, was a dominant force in the World Rally Championship, securing nine world titles with Citroën. His racing team has fielded Citroëns, Audis, Porsches, and McLarens for himself and other drivers in the WTCC, the Porsche Cup, European Le Mans Series, and the FIA GT series. The driver has also been undertaking a variety of off-road racing events with Peugeot, including a run at Dakar next year.

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