Sebastien Loeb Sumar
A former gymnast, Loeb was recognised in 1995 as a finalist in the 'Volant Rallye Jeune'. Sebastien didn't win that title in 1995 and 1996 but he succeeded in 1997 and was elected 'New Talent of the Year' by the monthly publication Echappement.
Loeb competed in the CitroŽn Saxo kit car Trophy in 1998. His talent was obvious and he finished sixth in his first season. He continued in the same category in 1999 and won the championship. Loeb also took part in
three WRC events that same year at the wheel of a Saxo kit car.
After experiencing asphalt, Sebastien decided to learn more about gravel-type events by competing in the French Gravel Rally Championship. 'Seb' won the 2000 title in the 2-litre, 2-wheel drive class. He also won his first race in the French Championship at the Rallye du Var that same year. Loeb also drove in two more WRC events, clinching a ninth place at the Tour de Corse and a tenth position at the Sanremo, both at the wheel of a Toyota Corolla.
Sebastien Loeb became an official CitroŽn driver in 2001. The Frenchman had a double programme that season: he drove a Xsara kit car in the French Rally Championship and a Saxo Super 1600 in the World Rally Championship. The results couldn't have been any better: he won the French Rally Championship and the Super 1600 World Rally Championship.
The 2002 season started with a remarkable victory at the Monte Carlo... but that very first WRC win was later taken away from him. Later in the season, Loeb took his revenge and won his first official WRC victory in Germany.
Sebastien almost became World Champion in 2003. A long battle with Petter Solberg only ended in the last event of the season. Solberg won by a single point but Loeb impressed with three victories: Monte Carlo, Deutschland and Sanremo.
Sebastien dominated the 2004 championship with victories in Monte Carlo, Sweden, Cyprus, Turkey, Germany and Australia. His remarkable season was also supplemented by second place finishes in Greece, Argentina, Japan, Great Britain, Sardinia and the Tour de Corse.
At only 31 years of age, Sebastien Loeb has many years of competition ahead of him. This first World Championship title will probably not be his last