Loeb splits with co-driver Elena after 23-year partnership

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Loeb admitted “it wasn’t a straightforward determination” to make and it’s understood that he referred to as Elena round noon on Tuesday to ship the information to him, having most just lately competed collectively at this yr’s Dakar Rally for the Bahrain Raid Xtreme crew.

The Prodrive-built BRX1 automobile’s debut on the Dakar Rally was marred with mechanical issues, together with a damaged suspension arm on stage six and a broken bearing on stage seven. Retirement adopted for the pair on stage eight once they picked up two punctures within the opening 80km and solely had one spare wheel.

Posting on his official Instagram account, Loeb wrote: “After 5 Dakar rallies collectively – and after discussions with the crew – we got here to the conclusion that perhaps it will be good to attempt one thing else.

“It isn’t with no heartache that we are going to not begin the subsequent version as team-mates.

“It wasn’t a straightforward determination to make, or the simplest telephone name to make after these 23 years, however I’ve no doubts about your means to bounce again.

“We could have the chance to share our ardour once more collectively and to look again on our nice moments.”

Sebastien Loeb and Daniel Elena, Bahrain Raid Xtreme team, 2021 Dakar Rally

Sebastien Loeb and Daniel Elena, Bahrain Raid Xtreme crew, 2021 Dakar Rally

Photograph by: Purple Bull Content material Pool

Loeb has insisted the choice to half firm won’t have an effect on his friendship with Elena transferring ahead.

9-time World Rally champion Loeb left the WRC on the finish of 2020, after two seasons within the Hyundai Motorsport camp, to pursue a win on the Dakar, though all events hinted on the time that they might be part of forces once more sooner or later.

Their finest outcomes with Hyundai got here at Rally Chile in 2019 and Rally Turkey in 2020 the place they completed on the third step of the rostrum.

That adopted a prolonged spell with Citroen the place Loeb and Elena secured 9 consecutive WRC titles between 2004 and 2012.

Aside from 2006, these had been achieved beneath the official works banner in three completely different vehicles: the Xsara, C4 and DS3.

The pair joined forces for the primary time at Rallye du Val d’Agout in 1998, the scene of their first win as team-mates in a Citroen Saxo Package Automotive.

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