Citroen rules out immediate switch to F1 for French star Loeb
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Citroen Racing was quick to remind its top star, Sebastien Loeb, that he will not be switching over to Formula One any time this season. The world rallying champion had told French media he had his eye on a place in the Torro Rosso team.
AFP - There is no way five-times world rally champion Sebastien Loeb could switch from rallying to Formula One during this rally season, the Frenchman's Citroen team said on Sunday.
Previously French newspaper L'Equipe quoted Loeb as saying he had his eye on a possible vacancy at the Torro Rosso team where under-performing F1 pilot Sebastien Bourdais could be deprived of his first-line driver's seat.
But Citroen rally team boss Olivier Quesnel has ruled out any immediate switch in discipline for Loeb, who currently lags a single point behind Finland's Mikko Hirvonen in the World Rally Championship driver's standings.
Quesnel, however, left the door open for the 35-year-old driver from France's Alsace region to go into F1 after the current rally season should he want to.
"Citroen Racing has never prevented its drivers from expressing their passion for motorsport (...) and I know how important it is for (Loeb) to try his hand at different activities as a driver," he said in a team statement.
Loeb is now preparing to regain his advantage from Hirvonen in the Finland Rally starting on August 2.
"There are four rallies to come and we have our work cut out if we want to secure sixth driver's title and a fifth manufacturer's crown - for the moment my energy is fully focused on that goal," he said.
Motorsport insiders suggest Loeb could be given a F1 drive for Toro Rosso at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix on November 1, Autosport website said.
Loeb expressed astonishment the suggestion had sparked such big headlines.
"I am rather surprised about the turn the matter has taken," he said. "It's really not my style to declare publicly in the media that I want to take over from Bourdais," he added."
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