SÉBASTIEN LOEB WAS UPBEAT FOLLOWING HIS RALLYE MONTE-CARLO DEBUT WITH HYUNDAI MOTORSPORT, DESPITE JUST MISSING OUT ON A PODIUM.Loeb, a nine-time champion with seven Monte wins, brought his i20 WRC home in fourth place on his first rally with the team.

Despite just one day of testing, Loeb claimed two stage wins and was firmly in the podium hunt, ending 13.0sec shy of the top three.

“To be fighting for the podium in my first event for Hyundai gives us all the motivation we need for the next rally. It’s a positive way to start a new relationship,” Loeb said.

“It was complicated to start in tricky conditions with a new car and very low experience of the roads, but we did some good stages, some less good stages, good tyre choices, bad tyre choices. We did a bit of everything.”

“I was not on the pace to fight at the front. I was just able to fight with Jari-Matti for fourth place, which we struggled to keep until the end, but it was an exciting battle with him.”

Loeb denied he was unhappy to miss out on another Monte podium, but acknowledged he would be looking for ways to improve his pace.

“I’m not frustrated not to be on the podium but I’m not really happy with my pace on Sunday,”he explained.

“It was asphalt, I was pushing, but I was not able to do good times. So we have to check and analyse and understand why I was not faster than that. My rhythm in the car was like I used to do.”

Loeb will be back in the i20 at the next round in Sweden (14 – 17 February) and has one day of pre-event testing.

“Sweden is a rally I like but I haven’t been there since 2013 so I will have to learn again how it works,” he said.