Loeb in M-Sport's Ford Puma for Croatia

M-Sport Ford is thrilled to announce that nine-time World Rally Champion, Sébastien Loeb, will once again compete behind the wheel of a M-Sport Ford Puma Hybrid Rally1 on Rally de Portugal in May.
After a breath-taking debut with the M-Sport Ford World Rally Team on Rallye Monte Carlo in January, M-Sport can now confirm Loeb and co-driver Isabelle Galmiche will re-join M-Sport to complete a five-car Puma Hybrid Rally1 assault in Portugal.

All-time great Loeb returned to the FIA World Rally Championship in January, claiming a total of six stage wins throughout the event as he battled against eight-time champion Sebastien Ogier before taking an overall victory at the 2022 season's opening event. After an intense and varied start of the year, competing in multiple disciplines around the globe, Loeb will take to the famous Porto gravel stages assisted by Galmiche, the first woman to record an overall event victory in WRC since 1997, made even more special with it being her first ever world outing with Loeb.

Rallye de Portugal marks a landmark occasion for the M-Sport Ford World Rally team which will become the first manufacturer to ever field five Rally1 cars on the same event. It's an exciting opportunity for the team with a wide range of talent heading to Portugal. Loeb's return will coincide with the 50th anniversary celebrations of the FIA World Rally Championship. A variety of activities are planned throughout the rally weekend as rallying celebrates 50 years of epic action on the most challenging stages and surfaces in the world.

The legendary Frenchman's strong history on the event started back in 2007, where he claimed a victory on his debut in Portugal, after winning 11 of 18 stages. He went on to win the event again in 2009, then collecting a further two podium finishes and a grand total of 32 stage wins to add to his record-breaking tally.

Sebastien Loeb said:
"Driving the Puma is one of my favourite rally memories; winning Monte Carlo after such a long time was incredible. The team worked really well, with a quick fix to the difficulties we faced at shakedown, allowing us to claim our 80th rally win. From my first test with this car, I immediately had a very good feeling and I enjoy driving with so much power with the hybrid system. It's a great car, a great team and we celebrated an incredible moment together.

"Portugal was an empty space in my calendar and it's a gravel rally, I have competed on this version of the rally in 2019 so I have a base of pace-notes from some of the stages. That was one of the reasons for choosing Portugal, the other was I wanted to do a gravel rally; I like driving on gravel so it was a very straightforward choice."

19th April, 2022