After 15 years of racing Citroens on rally stages and circuits, the company has dropped Sebastien Loeb from the WTCC lineup for the 2016 season. During his tenure for the French marque, Loeb gave the brand nine straight WRC championships along with 78 wins. Loeb also made his presence felt in WTCC, with six wins and a sting of podium finishes.
In an interview with Autosport Magazine, Loeb himself was surprised at Citroen's decision because he was expecting to drive for the team for 2016.
"I was surprised when I learned that I won't move forward to defend the colours of Citroen Racing in 2016. We built this challenge in WTCC together, with the personal goal to get the drivers' title in under three years. I am disappointed that the adventure stops after two years because I had the desire to go get this title. A beautiful story comes to an end, but I don't have any regrets. On the contrary, I keep the great memories." said Loeb.
Loeb adds, "Since the very beginning of the 2000s, Citroen was my brand of heart. I would like to thank all the people who have given me the opportunity to live my passion on a daily basis. We wrote beautiful pages of the history of the brand in competition. Of course, all these moments have been shared with the men and women of Citroen Racing, mechanics and engineers, and also Danos (Daniel Elena, Loeb's former co-driver). These colleagues have become my friends, a second family as they say. I only have one thing to say: thank you."
Citroen will only run two cars for the 2016 WTCC season, retaining touring car veteran Yvan Muller and back to back champion Jose Maria Lopez. Like Loeb, Ma Qing Ha has also been dropped from Citroen's WTCC lineup.
Loeb will still be racing next year under Citroen's mother company, PSA Peugeot Citroen, despite his release from the WTCC team. For 2016, Loeb will be competing in the Dakar Rally with Peugeot Sport.