During the 2014 Dakar rally I predicted on this website that 9-time World Rally Champion, Sebastien Loeb, would be competing in the 2015 Dakar Rally. Well I was wrong, and at the start of the 2015 Dakar Rally, I admitted to my mistake. It now turns out that I was only wrong by one year, as it has been announced that Sebastien Loeb will be competing in the 2016 Dakar with the Red Bull Racing Team driving a Peugeot. This something of a surprise because Loeb has driven Citroens almost exclusively since he started his WRC career.
Sebastien Loeb Will Compete In The 2016 Dakar Rally
Sebastien Loeb will join Peugeot’s other three drivers from this year’s Dakar Rally – his former Citroen WRC teammate Carlos Sainz, 11-time Dakar winner Stephane Peterhansel and Cyril Despres, a five-time champion of the motorbike category who converted to four wheels for last year’s Dakar. In last year’s Dakar Rally Peugeot had a rather poor showing with Peterhansel taking the marque’s best finish in 11th, while Despres had a 34th place finish and Sainz retired. Loeb will give Peugeot a very experienced driver who I think will be able to quickly adapt to the Dakar Rally.
Loeb will also see another former WRC competitor in the Dakar who will also be competing at Dakar for the first time. Mikko Hirvonen will be driving a Mini in the 2016 Dakar Rally.
Mikko Hirvonen Will Be In a Mini At The 2016 Dakar Rally
The event will mark the cross-country rally debut for the 34-year-old Finn, who walked away from his 13-year WRC career after the 2014 season, having finished runner-up in the drivers’ championship four times and recorded 15 rally wins.
There is a long history of former WRC drivers competing in the Dakar Rally and most of them have done quite well. I expect nothing less from Loeb and Hirvonen.