Sebastien Loeb says he is relishing starting his bid for his ninth World Rally Championship title on Rallye Monte-Carlo.
The event, which begins in the French city of Valence on Tuesday 17 January, returns to the WRC trail for the first time in three years. Loeb says the rally is “mythical” and that its return is another boost to the championship’s popularity.
“For sure Monte Carlo is a rally I always enjoyed,” said Loeb, a five-time winner of the asphalt event. “It’s a rally in France with a very good atmosphere. It’s a mythical rally, I think it’s nice it’s coming back in the championship. It was a bit disappointing when it was pulled out. Also it’s Daniel [Elena, my co-driver’s] home rally, so he is very happy.”
Loeb will be one of the favourites for honours on the 80th running of Rallye Monte-Carlo, which covers a competitive route of 430 kilometres and is due to finish in the Principality on Sunday 22 January.
The 37-year-old Frenchman will be at the wheel of a Citroen Total World Rally Team DS3 WRC.
Rallye Monte-Carlo last formed a round of the WRC in 2008 when Loeb claimed a comfortable victory ahead of new Citroen team-mate Mikko Hirvonen.