As the 2014 WRC teams shakedown their machinery around the twists of Monte Carlo,
I took a deep breath and let out a heavy sigh.
A man with a simple nick name, Le Patron or The BossÂ [‘ice man’ should’ve gone to him!]. A legend who deserved a lotÂ more dedicated space on the dailies around the world. A precise executioner of times, stages and super-specials. And a worthy champion more than anybody, was missing.
Missing from the starting list of the new season. After dominating the World Rally Championship for 9 consecutive seasonsÂ fromÂ 2004Â toÂ 2012.
In 2013, he entered just 4 rounds. In a kindÂ of ‘farewell-victory-lap’ to his loyal fans and French team, Citroen. He won two, finished second in one and in the final round crashed out and retired.
That final round was at home. Rallye de France-Alsace. He crashed out spectacularly in the first stage of Day 3. His Citroen DS3 WRC turned turtle. He crawled out of the wrecked car and into the timeless pages of Rally folklore.
This ultimate driving legend who was competitive straightaway in a Red Bull Formula 1 test, has been on the podium in Le Mans 24 Heures, raced aÂ McLaren MP4 12C in the FIA GT series, demolished the record at Pikes PeakÂ Hill Climb and for 2014 embarks on a serious challenge in the WTCC with CitroenÂ â€“Â has bid farewell to World Rallying. Without a pre-rehearsed ‘thank you’ speech.
Salut Sebastian Loeb.