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Severine Loeb, wife of World Rally Championship and Citroen star Sebastien, took to the co-driver’s seat when Seb drove the zero car in the most recent round of the French Rally Championship. Here she tells the World Champion’s official website what it was like!

 

Sebastienloeb.com: Why did you take part in the Rallye du Rouergue?
Severine Loeb: Originally, we were going to do the Alsace-Vosges rally but for logistical reasons, we weren't able to. We were invited to take part in the Rouergue and as we were on holiday, we decided to do it instead.

How was the recce?
Very good, but very long. I didn't realise we'd be spending so much time on it. We started at 8am and finished at 8pm on the first day and recce'd five stages, with the longest 36Km. Then, on the second, we finished the recce and went straight to shakedown. Everything went well with the notes though, although we'd see when we got to the start of the rally.

How was your driver during the recce? Relaxed, understanding, serious?
I can't say he was a darling! Seriously, it went well. He didn't do me any special favours but I understood that. It's his value as a professional that drives him, it's what he does. It was impressive to watch him fine-tune everything. But I can say it was pleasant in the car.

Did he help you much or leave you to it, like Dany [Elena]?
He helped me out, mainly on the map reading and reassured me a lot.

Did you have much 'homework' in the evenings?
Yes, normally I had to correct the pace notes but in the end, I did it in the mornings, because by the end of the day, I was finished! You don't fully understand just how tiring the co-driver's work is. They really do have long days.

Have you done any rallies together before?
Yes, but never in a Xsara WRC. We did the Alsace-Vosges twice, the first time in the Saxo Challenge and the second in a Saxo S1600. We also did the Var in a C2 S1600 and the Florival, a small regional Alsace event, in a Saxo Challenge.

Have you been to some tests with Seb?
Yes, just recently at the Germany test, where I had the chance to go out in the Xsara and the C4.

What were your first impressions?
They were fast - really fast. As much in the Xsara as the C4. It was that that made me nervous. I'm used to Saxos and C2s. On event, there is plenty of time to read the notes. With a WRCar, it's a different matter. The road comes up much faster. It's my first time in a Xsara WRC and you have to find the rhythm very quickly.

What did you think would be the hardest part of the weekend?
Get the right rhythm and call the notes at the right time. We weren't under any pressure and we weren't going for the win. But we still wanted to enjoy ourselves and I wanted to do my best.

Do you think a female voice calling the notes unsettled Seb?
I don't think so - It was his idea! Anyway, he didn't complain too much. He just told me I had to get used to delivering the notes quicker. No reason why I couldn't do that.

If, for one reason or another, a replacement was needed for Dany, would you take on the job?
No, definitely not! I do this for fun. Here, we're on holiday. I'd have too much pressure and would need much more experience. What Dany does, he does very well. I prefer to leave him to it.

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