Sebastien Loeb admitted he was surprised to hear that he had been fired from Citroen’s WTCC team as they were expected to work together for three years.
After years of speculation about Citroen's future in the world of sports, the French carmaker announced on Thursday that it is withdrawing from the WTCC World Touring Car Championship after the 2016 season and will focus exclusively on the World Rally Championship from 2017 onwards.
Next season, the Citroen team in the WTCC will be half as small, as they will put only two race cars on the track instead of four, and their colors will continue to be represented by Jose Maria Lopez and Yvan Muller. Loeb has run out of space, and the Frenchman will be able to focus entirely on the new collaboration with Peugeot, which starts in January at the legendary Dakar Rally.
The nine-time world rally champion explained that despite appearing with Peugeot, he still planned to work with Citroen next season.
“I was surprised to learn that I will no longer be racing for Citroen in the 2016 season,” Loeb said in a press release. “Together, we set this challenge in the WTCC series along with my personal goal of winning the racing title over a period of three seasons. I am disappointed that the project is coming to an end after only two seasons.
I focused on winning the title and this season I proved to be competitive, ”continued the Frenchman, who won four races.
Loeb has worked with Citroen since the beginning of his rally racing career, where the French association recorded an incredible 78 victories, and in the WTCC series he stepped on the top podium a total of six times in two seasons.
“Since the start of the 2000 season, Citroen has been my heart,” said 41-year-old Loeb. “I experienced unforgettable moments with them, moments I dreamed of as a young man. Together we wrote the best pages in the history of Citroen in motorsport and I know I was happy to be a part of it. ”
The Frenchman is now turning a new leaf in his rich career. “I am now focusing on the future and other projects that attract me as strongly as the WTCC. One of them is the Dakar, on which I will be performing within a few weeks with Peugeot. I look forward to working again with the team with whom we won the Pikes Peak mountain speed race. It's hard to say what challenges will appeal to me, but I can only say that I still passionately love racing and that I am still determined and motivated to reach the highest results. ”
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