Loeb ‘welcome back’ at Hyundai insists team boss

Hyundai Motorsport team boss Andrea Adamo says Sebastien Loeb is welcome back anytime following the conclusion of a two-year deal to compete in the World Rally Championship.

Nine-time World Champion Loeb signed a deal to participate in select rallies with Hyundai, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, his final season with the team has been cut short, with the Frenchman taking part in just two events; Rally Monte Carlo and Rally Turkey.

Sebastien Loeb (FRA) and Daniel Elena (MCO) of team Hyundai i20 Jaanus Ree/Red Bull Content Pool

Loeb and co-driver Daniel Elena scored two podium finishes in the two years, firstly at last year’s Rally Chile and just a fortnight ago in Turkey.

Adamo thanked both for their contribution to the team and would welcome them back.

“Ever since Séb and Danos joined our team in 2019, we have been privileged to have their wealth of expertise and experience in our team. All areas of our operation have benefitted from their know-how, directly or indirectly.

“Their contribution helped us to fight for – and win – the championship last season. Their knowledge and commitment was perfectly demonstrated in the tougher rallies like Chile and Turkey.

“The pandemic has meant we haven’t been able to use them as we had intended this season, but their performance in Turkey was a reminder to everyone of their ever-present ability and speed.

“We wish them all the best in their next chapter and keep our doors wide open to them should they ever wish to return.”

Loeb, who will take part in the Dakar next year with Prodrive, added: “Here we are at the end of the adventure with Hyundai Motorsport – and what an adventure it has been! I am extremely grateful for the opportunity they gave me during these two years by offering me a partial program, totally in line with my expectations, within a very professional team and in a pleasant atmosphere.

“These two years have passed extremely quickly – this one having also been cut by several months as a result of the pandemic – but they will have marked part of my career, and with another manufacturer title success to which I contributed.

“For me, Hyundai Motorsport gave me the best WRC car I have ever driven, and I was glad I could compete at the highest level with the latest generation of WRC cars.

“Now, a new chapter will open in 2021 with Prodrive in Rally Raid but who knows for WRC; neither Hyundai Motorsport nor I want to completely close the book for good.”