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Loeb will return to the car in which he won the Monte Carlo Rally in January, with a gap in his schedule the reasoning for returning.

“Driving the Puma is one of my favourite rally memories; winning Monte Carlo after such a long time was incredible,” Loeb explained of the announcement.

“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 pacenotes 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.”

For team boss, Malcolm Wilson, it is an honour to have him return, and he thanked M-Sport’s partners in allowing the entry.

“This has been made possible by our great partners, and I’m really looking forward to seeing how Seb and the Puma Hybrid Rally1 perform on the first real gravel event of the year,” he said.

“It’s great to have such a strong line-up of drivers and I’m very proud that our team is going to be the first to run five top-level cars at a WRC event.

“If anything, this shows just how appealing these Rally1 cars, and the Puma in particular, are to drivers and we hope to continue to push the limits of the sport. 

“I am also hoping this popularity of the Rally1 cars will lead us to seeing more customers cars competing on events around the world.”

It’s a credit to M-Sport to be able to get five cars up for the Portugal event after one chassis was essentially destroyed in Monte Carlo.

For now though, the work continues for M-Sport as they prepare for this weekend’s round of the WRC at the Croatia Rally.

Rally Portugal runs from May 20th to 22nd.

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Luke Whitten

Luke is part of the third generation of the RallySport Magazine team and holds a degree in marketing & communications.
Luke is part of the third generation of the RallySport Magazine team and holds a degree in marketing & communications.

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