The beginning of the end of the Séb Loeb era?


Staff Member
Are we seeing the beginning of the end of Sébastien Loeb's domination of WRC?

Although he started the 2009 season in his usual fashion with 5 wins and was looking like he was going to wrap the championship up early, he has since had a 4th, a retirement and a 7th.
Meanwhile Mikko Hirvonen seems to be improving going from 3rd's and 2nd's to 2 1st places in the last 2 outings.
Full standings are available here: WRC 2009 Standings

In fact for the last 2 events it has been Mikko who has been leading the championship.

All runs must eventually come to an end so are we witnessing Seb's?

Of course there's still 4 events left so anything can happen but Seb must be wondering where his early form has gone.
It's a strange one, and to some extent reflects the way the current FIA points system rewards consistency over outright speed - it's five wins to two in Loeb's favour, and while I don't think that consistency is unimportant - particularly in rallying - I don't think the current system quite has the balance right.

His accident on the Acropolis was just about the biggest he's had to date, and was entirely down to driver error. Then on the first day in Poland he hit a concealed tree stump - a mistake any regular driver can expect to make at least once or twice a season, but this is Loeb we're talking about! It was only thanks to the SuperRally regulations that he could rejoin on day two and end up with a couple of points.

Is he getting bored of rallying? His head certainly seems to have been turned by his recent sportscar endeavours, not to mention the Red Bull F1 test of course. It is fair to say that on most events now (Finland, GB, Acropolis being the main exceptions) Loeb faces relatively little challenge from the Fords, and it would be understandable that his enthusiasm may start to wane. Gronholm has retired; Solberg can't get a works drive; Markko Martin has more or less given up completely (through no fault of his own). What's the next challenge?
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