At the wheel of an M-Sport Ford Puma Hybrid Rally1 and once again with Isabelle Galmiche as navigator, the world rally legend could not resist the call of the Vodafone Rally of Portugal and confirmed today his presence in the Portuguese event which counts for the World Rally Championship. After winning the Monte Carlo Rally, the opening race of this season, with a thrilling duel with Sébastien Ogier, the driver returns to the emblematic dirt tracks of the northern region of Portugal, again driving the new hybrid generation of a Rally1, the Ford Puma, which surprised everybody in the cold Monte Carlo tracks.
Loeb's return matches the celebration of the 50th anniversary of the FIA World Rally Championship. For the French champion, the Vodafone Rally de Portugal is a special rally. The legendary French driver's impressive history in this race started in 2007, with a victory in his debut in Portugal, after being the fastest in 11 of the 18 specials of that edition.
"Portugal was an empty space on my calendar and it is a dirt rally; having already competed in this version of the race in 2019, I have a base of notes from some of its classifications. That was one of the reasons I chose Portugal; the other was that I wanted to do a dirt rally. I like driving on those kinds of surfaces, so it was a very simple choice. Driving the Puma is one of my favorite memories in rallying; winning in Monte Carlo after so long was something incredible. The team worked very well, quickly finding solutions to the issues that were identified in the Shakedown, allowing us to achieve our 80th rally victory," said Sébastien Loeb.
The Vodafone Rally de Portugal is a special occasion for the M-Sport Ford World Rally Team, as it will be the first manufacturer to enter five Rally1 cars in the same event.