Nairobi, October 8 2018–Sébastien Loeb is the quintessential of rallying world over. The 44-year-old Frenchman has won virtually everything, notching nine record world rally championship titles in a row, unprecedented in the history of the sport.
Add to his status of having the most podium finishes and most stage wins and one starts appreciating the depth of talent of the Frenchman. Loeb retired in 2012 at the top of his game but continued participating in selected events the following season. However, he was fully engaged in FIA GT Series driving a McLaren MP4-12C before moving to the FIA World Touring Car Championship in a Citroen in 2014. He has been engaged by Team Peugeot Total this year.
2005 remains his most remarkable season. He was leading the Wales Rally GB and if victorious would have wrapped up his season’s driver’s title. Unfortunately with the last two stages being abandoned following the death of Markko Martin’s co-driver Michael Park on Stage 15, Loeb deliberately incurred a two-minute penalty to drop him to third place and avoid retaining his title under such sad circumstances that engulfed the rally. He went on to secure the title by finishing second to Peugeot’s Marcus Gronholm in the next WRC round in Japan.
This elevated Loeb to motorsport folklore after he extended his win record to ten and won the title with a 56-point margin, breaking a 25-year-old record held by German Maestro Walter Rohrl over Finnish ace Hannu Mikola in 1980 which was 54.
In the same year, Loeb also won all twelve stages in the 2005 Tour de Corse in France, the first time a driver had won every stage of a WRC rally. Loeb’s twelve podium and thirteen points-scoring finishes in a row were also new records in the series.
Despite all these, Loeb never conquered the WRC Safari Rally. In his debut in 2002 Loeb managed a fifth in a Citroen. But he fell in love with Kenya and its people as this picture by Anwar Sidi illustrates where he mingled with local Masai during testing and at least bought some souvenir which he took back home which remains a constant reminder of his sojourn to Kenya.