Pierre-Louis Loubet, author of a remarkable performance at the Acropolis Rally, wants to compete in more rallies next year to keep the momentum and gain more experience.
While Sébastien Loeb’s performance at the Acropolis Rally was to be expected, that of his young teammate and compatriot Pierre-Louis Loubet left many observers speechless. The 25-year-old Frenchman actually surprised in Greece by leading the race alongside the Alsatian on stage one, signing his first two scratches in the process.
A performance all the more impressive as the Corsican had not participated in the previous round, the Ypres Rally, and therefore lacked a dynamism but important given his relatively little experience in the WRC. Eventually a puncture ended his podium chances but Loubet managed to repeat his previous best result in the discipline with fourth place, making him the top-placed M-Sport rider at the end of the Hellenic test.
A result that comes at the right time while the future for next year is still uncertain. While he is taking part in a partial program this season consisting of seven rallies (the last one will be held in Catalonia at the end of October), Loubet feels it is necessary to increase the number of rounds he will take part in in 2023 in order to expect more hope for progress.
“At least ten rallies would be good, because with seven rallies you end up having too much time between the individual events.”so he instructed our colleagues from the site DirtFish.com. “Think well, my last rally [avant la Grèce] was in Finland, it was two months ago [sic, c’était cinq semaines avant l’Acropole]. That makes a lot.”
Loubet believes the pace he showed in Greece on Friday was largely due to his advantageous position in the starting order. The latter, dictated by the hierarchy in the championship on day one, has in fact allowed the Frenchman to benefit from swept roads in front of him.
An advantage that makes him put his position in perspective at the end of the first stage in Greece, which he finished second behind Loeb. “I think we had an advantage [à l’Acropole]and we could use it to get out of the game.he continues. “But if we want to fight at eye level with the competition without this advantage, we have to drive more.”
In the absence of a complete program, Loubet would therefore like to participate in a larger number of rallies in 2023. With Craig Breen and Gus Greensmith all day long over the next year, the question of the identity of the pilot driving the third Puma remains unresolved.
Loeb, who is already active in many other disciplines, should at best compete in a limited number of rallies like this year, while Adrien Fourmaux seems to be in the hot seat since his accident in Belgium at the end of August. This could pave the way for Loubet’s tenure at M-Sport.
But questions remain about the future of Ott Tänak, who did not hide his disappointment after Hyundai’s decision to freeze positions at the end of the Acropolis Rally robbed him of another win and so many valuable points in his championship fight against Kalle Rovanperä . When asked about his future by the WRC official website, Loubet says he has no idea what 2023 has in store for him. “We’ll see, but right now I don’t have anything”he says while insisting he needs to attend more events. “That’s a question to ask M-Sport. What is certain is that we have to drive more to be at the level of the best drivers.”
Despite his good performance at M-Sport this season, Loubet remains on the hunt for 2023.
In any case, Loubet should remain in the bosom of the England team, who have done everything to make him feel comfortable and develop in the best possible conditions this season. “I’m aware that he may have been in trouble over the last few years and since day one [chez M-Sport] I wanted him to benefit from that family atmosphere, I wanted him to be part of the family.”advances the team’s boss, Malcolm Wilson, to DirtFish.com. “Some of the things we did definitely helped him gain confidence. We are all working for him, behind him, to get results like that.”
After a truncated end to the 2021 season, a car crash in Paris and a broken hip, Loubet was able to step up and show he’s got the shoulders to strain in his six appearances in M-Sport colours. An expanded minimum program next year would only be a fair reward for all his efforts.
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