Sebastien Loeb will continue in the World Rally Championship for at least another two more seasons after agreeing a deal to remain with the factory Citroen squad until the end of the 2013 season.

Loeb’s future with the French make and, indeed, the WRC has been the subject of considerable speculation in recent months with suggestions that the 37-year-old Frenchman would call time on his rallying career if he captured an eighth world crown this year. He currently leads the standings following his breath-taking victory on Neste Oil Rally Finland last month.

In a statement, Loeb said: “With the arrival of other manufacturers in the championship, the competition is going to get tougher in the years to come. All the more so with the rule changes concerning the starting order coming in in 2012 as all the drivers will be fighting on a level playing field. To take the fight to them I’m putting my trust in Citroen, a team I know inside out and the DS3 WRC, the car that I helped [develop] with Citroen Racing.”

Loeb has been part of the Citroen family since 2001. He claimed his maiden WRC event win with the firm, on Rallye Deutschland, in 2002 and captured his first world crown driving a Citroen Xsara WRC in 2004. To date he has taken 66 victories in the world championship alongside co-driver Daniel Elena, who will continue alongside Loeb for another two seasons.

Frederic Banzet, Citroen’s general manager, welcomed Loeb’s decision to remain loyal to the company.

“Sebastien Loeb is a great ambassador for the make,” said Banzet. “Today, his image and ours are intimately linked. He incarnates the daring, the sporting spirit and the love of competition, values that are very dear to us. We’re proud of his loyalty to Citroen and of the fact that he’s continuing with his career with the team that’s supported him since his debut.”

Loeb is currently in Trier preparing for ADAC Rallye Deutschland, an event he has won on the last eight occasions.

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