Loeb does not 'have the motivation' to replace Meeke at Citroen

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Sebastien Loeb says he does not “have the motivation” to commit to more 2018 World Rally Championship outings with Citroen despite Kris Meeke’s exit from the team.

Nine-time WRC champion Loeb has contested two WRC events for Citroen so far this year – his first in three years – and is scheduled to make one further appearance on Rally Catalunya in October.

Loeb, who is a factory Peugeot World Rallycross championship driver, previously shot down suggestions he could contest August’s Rally Germany and reiterated he would not reconsider his WRC programme in the wake of Meeke’s departure.

“I am working in WRX now,” he said.

“I don’t want to do this and WRC, I don’t have the motivation for that.

“Nothing changes because Meeke isn’t driving for Citroen. I don’t want to put more rallies in the calendar, I want to be calmer.

“Already I’m competing here [in WRX] every two weeks and then we have tests and promotion [commitments].

“Nothing changes for me. I [will] do Spain, like we planned, but that’s it.”

But Loeb said he could consider assisting with Citroen’s test and development programme.

“Maybe I can help with a test or something,” said Loeb.

“Maybe this is possible, but so far this isn’t something we have spoken about.”

Loeb confirmed his 2019 Peugeot WRX deal is not yet in place, but added: “We are talking about it and this is the priority.”

Citroen could allow Craig Breen and Mads Ostberg – whose current final planned outing of 2018 is next month’s Rally Sardinia – to see out the season as its two main drivers.

Team principal Pierre Budar said the Sardinia event would offer Citron the chance to asses that option.

“Let’s see what happens [in Sardinia],” he said.

“We have to be careful, it’s not an easy position for them [Breen and Ostberg].

“If we want them to lead the team it can be quite difficult for them.

“We didn’t decide what to do for the next rallies [after Sardinia]. We have a bit of time for the decision.

“We will have to make a decision for Finland before the end of June.

“We have a few options – not many, but a few. Let’s see what is the best choice for us considering the situation and considering we have to prepare for next year.”

Budar added the decision to axe Meeke was “not linked” to suggestions Citroen could hasten its exit from the WRC.

Ostberg, who will get two days of testing in Spain instead of one in preparation for Sardinia, said he was aware there was an opportunity to audition for a drive but knows nothing of his future with Citroen beyond Sardinia.

“This was always an event I was going to do,” Ostberg told Autosport.

“I understand there’s an opportunity now and I will do my best for this. I really want to show the team what I am capable of and what I can do in Sardinia.”

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