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Sébastien Loeb Racing seeking a great finale

After a tremendous season

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By Emmanuel Touzot

23 November 2016 - 13:31
Sébastien Loeb Racing seeking a (...)

Always in search of more wins and podium finishes, late this week (Thursday 24 and Friday 25 November), the Sébastien Loeb Racing team is heading to Qatar, site of the last round of the 2016 World Touring Car Championship, with the full intention of bolstering its record. Sébastien Loeb and Dominique Heintz’s crew will arrive without the pressure of attempting to reach certain goals they have indeed already fulfilled. They clinched the WTCC Trophy Teams title in Portugal back in July, and the Drivers title for Mehdi Bennani at the previous race in China.

The Moroccan driver also scored the overall win in Hungary, matched in Argentina by his British teammate Tom Chilton, second behind Bennani in the independent competitor standings. So this has already been quite a successful season, rounded out by the rise of Grégoire Demoustier who targets the final WTCC Trophy top 5 in his first season with the team.

"We are going into this stopover in Qatar with the pride of having reached all of our objectives, before the finale, so we’ll be able to enjoy ourselves and go after good results," says Dominique Heintz, Sébastien Loeb Racing Team Manager.

The mission will be about adding to their two victories and nine overall podium finishes, as well as their 14 WTCC trophies. "We weren’t expecting quite this level of success, but we were hoping," continues Dominique Heintz. "It’s never find easy since the competition is so fierce, we are in a world championship including several independents, such as Tom Coronel, with his enormous experience. Our two more seasoned drivers, Mehdi and Tom, have been our big assets while Greg has continued learning the discipline. So we had a trio capable of going after these results, but they still had to make it happen. And they did it, well!"

The team was able to count on the Citroën C-Elysée which turned out, again this season, to perform at top level. But they also relied on a perfect collaboration with the constructor.

"Our relationship with Citroën Racing has always been excellent and we have worked in a very productive way to reach our shared goals. The official team needed to win the overall title, and we needed the independents’ title. There is a common synergy. Citroën has been a huge help so that we could go forward in better conditions, and for our drivers to perform as well as possible. We can only thank them for the support they’ve provided since the beginning of our collaboration."

This overall success would be nothing, meanwhile, without a formidable trio of drivers bringing a fantastic close to a stunning campaign. "Mehdi has been chasing this title for many years, it’s a relief for him, and to have been able to race with the Citroën for two seasons was an advantage early on. He knew how to make it successful and fully deserves his title. Tom, who also has a great deal of experience in the WTCC, did very well once he got a feel for how the C-Elysée handles, very powerful but also quite demanding. He really impressed us with his best lap at the Nürburgring, to achieve it there means he had really begun to master the car.

"As for Grégoire, it’s different as he was just starting his second season in the WTCC and still had everything to learn. However, he was always focused and qualified several times in Q2 as the season went on. I am certain he will continue this momentum next season, and we all hope he will achieve the results he deserves since his speed leaves no doubts."

This finale, near Doha at the Losail international circuit, has the distinction of taking place at night, and on the weekend of the Hegian calendar, either Thursday or Friday. It’s a setting full of memories for the boss who, at this track in the Middle East 12 months ago, made his last appearance in the WTCC, finishing, for the second year in a row, on the final podium of the world championship.

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