Shortly after its unveiling, M-Sport’s Ford Puma Rally1 racer got off to the best possible start as Sebastian Loeb piloted The Blue Oval’s first-ever electrified competition racing vehicle to victory in its first race at Monte Carlo. As it turns out, the most successful racer in World Rally Championship (WRC) history enjoyed his return to the track so much that he wants to do it again at the upcoming race in Portugal, according to Ford of Europe Director of Product Communications, Jay Ward, who revealed that news via Twitter.
Some great news to start the working week. @SebastienLoeb will join the @MSportLtd and @FordPerformance team for Rally Portugal. Hopefully will be as successful as his first outing with Isabelle Galmiche in the co-driver seat. https://t.co/7S0c8fTAeT
— Jay Ward (@Jward35) April 19, 2022
“Driving the Puma is one of my favorite rally memories; winning Monte Carlo after such a long time was incredible, Loeb said. “The team worked really well, with a quick fix to the difficulties we faced at shakedown, allowing us to claim our 80th rally win. I have completed this version of Rally de Portugal in 2019 so I have a base of pace notes from some of the states. That was one reason 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.”
Sebastian Loeb racked up nine consecutive WRC championships and a host of records before retiring in 2012, though he has since participated in a number of racing series on a part-time basis including scoring a second-place finish at the Dakar Rally just one week prior to his victory in Monte Carlo.
What’s even more impressive about that feat is the fact that Loeb just drove the new Puma Rally1 for the very first time mere months ago, though he walked away from that experience every bit as impressed as everyone else that’s driven or ridden in the hybrid racer – including M-Sport team leader Craig Breen and Ford CEO Jim Farley.