Rally GOAT could race in Coffs in 2019
MOTORSPORT: The greatest driver in the history of the World Rally Championship has inked a new deal which could see him race in Coffs Harbour for the first time since 2011.
Sebastien Loeb has signed a two-year deal with Hyundai, with the 44-year-old Frenchman set to tackle six rounds of the WRC next year.
Since his retirement from full-time rally driving in 2012, Loeb has participated in the World Touring Car Championship, World Rallycross Championship and the Dakar Rally.
The legend has had the occasional return drive in the WRC, culminating in a victory at Rally Spain in October.
It's not yet known which six events the nine-time world champion will race in, but Rally Australia Chairman Ben Rainsford is hopeful he will make an appearance at the final round of the 2019 WRC.
"Sebastien Loeb is rallying's greatest driver and an incredible sportsman by any measure,” Rainsford said.
"His move to Hyundai is exciting news for rally fans everywhere and will certainly boost interest in the WRC here in Australia.
"He hasn't competed here since 2011, but we'll go out of our way to welcome him if there's any chance he can wrap up his 2019 season on the Coffs Coast.
"With three of the WRC's fastest drivers moving to new teams, Loeb to Hyundai, Sébastien Ogier to Citroën and Kris Meeke to Toyota, we're looking forward to an unforgettable 2019 season.”
Loeb will drive in a Hyundai i20 World Rally Car during the 2019 series alongside co-driver Daniel Elena, who was beside him for all of his world titles.
"Winning at Rally de Espana this season reignited my desire to continue competing at the very front of WRC. Joining Hyundai will give us a fresh challenge and one that I can't wait to tackle,” Loeb said.
"I have been impressed with the team's approach and their determination to succeed. They were firmly in the title fight this season and I feel that I can bring a lot to them.”