TWO SEBS, 14 WORLD RALLY TITLES, FRIENDS AGAIN

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TWO SEBS, 14 WORLD RALLY TITLES, FRIENDS AGAIN

IN 2010 and 2011, Sébastien Loeb and Sébastien Ogier were teammates but bitter rivals at the Citroën World Rally Championship team. Loeb was on a run that netted him nine consecutive drivers’ titles (making him the most successful world champion on four wheels) by the time he retired from full-time rallying at the end of 2012. Ogier was on the brink of his own success and to date has won five straight titles – meaning that, between them, the two French Sebs have won the past 14 FIA World Rally Championships.

PHOTO: Former rivals Sébastien Loeb and Sébastien Ogier re-unite as friends competing on Rally Guanajuato Mexico this weekend (Mauricio Ramos/Red Bull pic)

This weekend their rivalry is re-ignited with Loeb’s part-time return to the WRC at Rally Guanajuato Mexico. But at last the tensions are behind them, as they explain in this Red Bull Media House feature from Mexico today.

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SÉBASTIEN Loeb and Sébastien Ogier have won the past 14 FIA World Rally Championships between them, making Loeb’s WRC return this week at Rally Guanajuato Mexico something to be savoured.

Loeb, 44, won nine titles in a row before departing for rally raid and FIA World Rallycross with 34-year-old Ogier then reeling off five on the spin.

Ogier entered WRC in 2008 with the two road warriors becoming Citroën Total World Rally Team colleagues for the 2010 and 2011 seasons, where Loeb got the upper hand both times.

With Loeb making Mexico one of three WRC appearances this season, around his WRX and rally raid duties, the two sat down for a frank pre-race chat.

Loeb said, “I am happy to be back in the world of WRC and to see the guys who I was fighting with is nice. It is exciting to discover these new WRC cars and see if I am still able to be in a good rhythm. I have no precise goal.

“The tension in the past was not directly between Seb and me. The media liked to make it a war between us and it was not nice.

“We were both fighting. It was one of the first times I had a team-mate of his level and it was more complicated. I respect what he did and he has been doing great since then.

“I am looking forward to competing here because nobody knows what I am able to do, even myself.”

Ogier added: “I am very happy to see Seb and Daniel (co-driver Elena) again. There are more good memories than bad ones.

“We had tension at the time as we both had the target to be world champion. There are many examples in motorsport when you have two very angry people fighting for the same targets especially in the same team.

“This is why we love it, the adrenaline and the tension – the intensity of it. If everyone could do it, it would not be like this.

“That is what makes it special. Pressure is part of our job.”

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Chris Nixon

Chris Nixon is Media Manager for Kennards Hire Rally Australia.