Why Mexico confirmed Loeb as the greatest of all time

Published on Wednesday March 14 2018

Sebastien Loeb was back, and made a big impact. Pic: mcklein-imagedatabase.com

They were talking about it in the smoky bars around Leon while savouring their tequilas and necking their Coronas. They were even talking about it in the mountains of Mexico while clearing their cactus and packing their ponchos.

The Mexicans like things hot, and this was one hot topic of conversation.

Should he back? Could he be good? Would he be able to win? Yes, yes and a final emphatic yes was the answer.

OK, so Sebastien Loeb didn’t win in Mexico, but for a glorious few hours on Saturday we allowed ourselves to believe that might just be possible. He rolled back the years to remind us of just why he is a nine-time champion and 78-time rally winner.

It was thrilling, it was compelling and it was nothing short of bloody brilliant.

The last time the guy competed full time in the championship was 2012. How many other examples are there of champions returning after five years away and showing the new generation of rapid chargers the way forward? 

Not many at this level.

Why Citroen wants Loeb back full-time for 2019

But what Loeb did in Mexico over three-and-a-bit days of pulsating hot rally action was way more than show a slightly sceptical watching world that he has lost none of his outrageously effortless talent.

Oh yes he did so much more than that.

Loeb led Rally Mexico on his debut in new-generation WRC. Pic: mcklein-imagedatabase.com

For me he emphatically silenced those doubters who stubbornly refused to proclaim him as the greatest rally driver of all time. ‘He only did it in one marque. He didn’t have any competition. He was always in the best car…’

Amazing isn’t it, how some people are always looking for reasons to deny greatness?

Well this time he was in a car that was built around another driver. It was a car that was on the same level as the competition. The opposition was truly world class.

And Loeb, after just a few days of testing, jumped into the right-hand seat and looked as if he’d never been away. It was a performance of character, of class. It was the performance of a champion.

And I guess there will still be some out there for whom Loeb’s performance just isn’t enough to convince them of his ‘Greatest Driver of All Time’ credentials.

Meeke (left) says Loeb should do the whole 2019 season. Pic: mcklein-imagedatabase.com

So what might silence those doubters once and for all?

How about a full-on tilt at championship number 10?

I genuinely think that it’s a possibility for 2019. And by the way, it might also be the catalyst that keeps Citroen in the World Rally Championship.

Loeb looked at home, Loeb looked relaxed, Loeb looked hungry and motivated and Loeb looked mighty competitive.

Recent news

Column

Who I have my money on for the BTCC title

By Matt James

Rallying News

FIA blocks ‘radical’ final stage plan for Rally GB

Tuesday’s Wales Rally GB launch has been cancelled after the FIA refused to sign off on this...

Rallying News

Electric cars part of WRC regulation talks

Future regulations concerning World Rally Cars will be discussed by the FIA and WRC stakeholders...

Rallying News

Ostberg rejoins Citroen for Rally Portugal

Mads Ostberg will rejoin Citroen's World Rally Championship line-up for at least two more events,...

Promoted feature

Swaffham Raceway: Family friendly fun

East Anglia has always been a hotbed for short oval racing and one of the resurgent venues in...

Racing News

Introducing Lewis Kent: Making the steps towards the BTCC

[DRIVER PROMOTION] “We’re aiming to go out there, do well in the championship and make...

Rallying News

Safari Rally won't feature in 2019 WRC

FIA president Jean Todt has revealed that the Safari Rally will not be on the World Rally Championship...

Column

Silverstone's rallycross adventure

By Matt James

Rallying News

Ogier seals Corsica victory

Sebastien Ogier sealed victory in the World Rally Championship's Tour de Corse with a comfortable...

Racing News

Ingram wins Brands finale, takes points lead

Tom Ingram won the final British Touring Car Championship race at Brands Hatch to move into...

Racing News

Proctor scores first win after slicks gamble

Senna Proctor took Vauxhall's first victory in the British Touring Car Championship since 2012...

Racing News

Goff beats Turkington to win season opener

Jack Goff won the opening round of the British Touring Car Championship at Brands Hatch after...

Goff snatches Brands BTCC pole

Jack Goff scored his third pole position in as many British Touring Car Championship race meetings...

Racing News

Introducing Patrick Kibble: Moving from karts to cars

[DRIVER PROMOTION] Being tall in motorsport brings with it a number of challenges. And one...

Rallying News

West on verge of MN Rally crown

Peugeot 306 Maxi driver Chris West can seal the Motorsport News Circuit Rally Championship this...

Rallying News

Loeb among Corsica favourites reckon rivals

Despite not competing on Corsica for a decade, Sebastien Loeb's World Rally Championship rivals...

Racing News

MSA chief executive steps down from role

Rob Jones, the chief executive of UK motorsport's governing body, has stepped down after 12...

Rallying News

Quarter-finals set for DiRT world championship

The 36 quarter-finalists for the inaugural DiRT eSports World Championships have been chosen...

Racing News

Monger never thought comeback podium possible

Billy Monger says he never imagined a top-three finish on his BRDC British F3 debut was possible...

Rallying News

FIA ratifies powerstage rule change

A regulation change to stop World Rally Championship crews taking a tactical approach to powerstages...

Rallying News

Loeb's team pleased with all-new Peugeot's debut

Sebastien Loeb's team ran its brand-new Peugeot 208 Supercar for the first time at the Silverstone...

Rallying News

Rallycross stalwart Doran to race at Lydden Hill

Multiple European Rallycross event-winner Liam Doran will return to rallycross Supercar action...

1 2 3 50

More national news, in-depth race reports and analysis. Subscribe to the Motorsport News paper today.

What’s On

This weekend

No Events

Later

No Events

This weekend

No Events

Later

No Events

X