by clicking the arrows at the side of the page, or by using the toolbar.
by clicking anywhere on the page.
by dragging the page around when zoomed in.
by clicking anywhere on the page when zoomed in.
web sites or send emails by clicking on hyperlinks.
Email this page to a friend
Search this issue
Index - jump to page or section
Archive - view past issues
GP Week : Issue 37
5 Minutes with ... SEBASTIEN LOEB Cyprus at the weekend provided the 50th – yes, 50th – WRC win for the amazing Monsieur Loeb. He reflected on the weekend with MARTIN HOLMES Records come to 35 year-old, five-times World Rally Champion, Sebastien Loeb at regular intervals. His latest, however, was something quite special – his 50th World Rally Championship victory is an amazing achievement – especially when compared with the 30 victories of his nearest challenger, Marcus Gronholm. Victory on Cyprus was additionally special on account of the unknown challenges involved with the mixed- surface stages and, more than that, the special single-tyre regulation. GP WEEK: How much were you conscious of the chance of gaining your 50th WCR win here? SEBASTIEN LOEB: For sure it was a nice thought but it did not really prey on my mind. I just got on with the usual preparation for the rally. We had already won the first two rallies of the season but this one was more specific event in a different way to the first two rallies this year had been. We just hoped we would still be competitive. During my career we have always taken one rally at a time. When we beat Carlos Sainz’s record of 26 wins I could not believe we could have gone much further. That seemed only a few days ago. In my mind the strongest memory was Monte Carlo 2002, which I thought had won, then we didn’t. … Did the challenge of two different surfaces on the same event present a problem? No. I was happy to hear that we would have a day of tarmac rallying in Cyprus. In fact, I would have liked the whole event to be run on tarmac! The tarmac stages are very nice, for me nicer than the gravel stages. It would have been nicer to drive them on slick tyres, but I respect that the decision to use gravel tyres was a matter of budget. Maybe at this time it is more important to save money. It’s a shame to have only done things by half. The single tyre regulations meant we would be competing on asphalt with ill-suited brakes, tyres and suspension. 18 One of many – Loeb receives his GPWEEK Rally Driver of the Year Award (voted by F1 and MotoGP stars) from Rally Editor Martin Holmes. The balance of our C4 WRC is still very good with this set-up, but we were aware that we will need to look after our tyres to avoid punctures. It will probably be nice for the spectators to see the cars sliding, but I don’t think it will be all that stimulating for the drivers. What were your tactics for winning this event? The fact that we were starting the weekend on asphalt wouldn’t encourage us to attack, either, because what will be the point in being first overall on Friday evening? That will mean facing road sweeping duty on the next day’s loose surfaced stages. That said, this is not a strategy we will be able to afford to adopt because we would be starting the weekend first on the road, unable to measure our performances against our rivals. Our objective was therefore to build up as big a lead as possible on the opening day, which we managed to do. Will you be happy to see Marcus Gronholm competing again in Portugal? Yes, very happy, for different reasons. Just to have his name back on the entry list is great. For me it has been some time since we last met on a personal level, and if his Subaru is working well and he is feeling good, maybe we have yet another fight. What do your think about the proposed new World Rally Car regulations? A four-wheel drive car will work better if it has a turbocharger. A Super 2000 that is normally-aspirated will not have a lot of torque and therefore will not be so nice to drive as the World Rally Cars we are driving at the moment. On the other side, this is a difficult time for everybody, manufacturers included. Perhaps the most important thing at this time is to protect the championship and take what steps we can to attract more manufacturers. In this way, maybe just the normally- aspirated Super 2000 cars may be the best solution. This is not the moment for the drivers to decide what the cars should be like if, for the manufacturers, these new rules are better for them. Are you planning to continue to be part of rally sport if the rules are changed in this way? Why not?