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.

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