PRINCE GIVEN LOEB’S DS3 FOR MONACO COLLECTION

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PRINCE GIVEN LOEB’S DS3 FOR MONACO COLLECTION

FIA WORLD TOURING CAR CHAMPIONSHIP 2014 - PAUL RICARD

Photo:  Prince Albert of Monaco holds the steering wheel of the Citroen DS3 WRC of Sebastien Loeb, right (Citroen photo).

THE Citroen DS3 in which Sebastien Loeb and Daniel Elena won their last Rallye Monte-Carlo has been presented to the Principality’s ruler and will go on permanent display.

The handover to Prince Albert II was made last weekend during the French round of the FIA World Touring Car Championship at nearby Paul Ricard circuit, where Loeb was competing in a Citroen C-Elysee for the factory team.

With seven victories between 2003 and 2013, Loeb, Elena and Citroën Racing have made an important mark on the modern history of Rallye Monte-Carlo. Elena is the Principality’s most decorated sportsman, with 78 rally wins and nine World Championship titles.

So when Prince Albert visited the French team in the paddock at Paul Ricard, he greeted them as friends. After a tour of the pits with Daniel Elena, the Prince was taken for a fast lap of Ricard alongside Sébastien Loeb.

Citroën Racing Team Principal Yves Matton then presented the Prince with the historic DS3 WRC, the car in which Loeb and Elena took the penultimate victory in their WRC career.

The car will be added to the Monaco Top Cars Collection, initiated by Prince Albert’s late father Prince Rainier and displayed in a special exhibition hall next to the Terrasses de Fontvieille, at the foot of the Rock of Monaco.

“This has been a terrific experience for me and I would like to thank Sébastien for taking the time to take me out in the car, which was a real thrill,” Prince Albert said.

“I already knew this circuit well, as I have raced here myself, but what I experienced today was something else! It’s also very exciting to have this World Rally Championship-winning Citroën join the collection created by my father, which I try to improve year by year. It will have a special place.”

Team Principal Yves Matton said Citroën Racing had great memories of participating in the Monte-Carlo Rally, not least the 1-2-3 achieved by Sébastien Loeb, Carlos Sainz and Colin McRae in 2003.

“But the thing we will remember best about Monaco is Daniel Elena. He is synonymous with the team and it’s a kind of tribute to him be giving a Citroën DS3 WRC to the Monaco Top Cars Collection,” Matton said.

Elena added: “It’s a lovely gesture for my country, which will allow the people of Monaco and visitors from all over the world to come and admire a marvellous car.”

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Chris Nixon

Chris Nixon is Media Manager for Kennards Hire Rally Australia.