Blog: Loubet’s transformation in 2022

Pierre-Louis Loubet for sure has impressed even more the world of rallying with his performance this year and was a pleasant surprise at Acropolis Rally of 2022.

It is no secret that the young Corsican has innate talent and speed and these two factors had been shown when he became a WRC2 Champion in 2019, but the seasons 2020-2021 were very disappointing and discouraging for him. Many people had doubts about his skills due to the bad seasons he had. Loubet secured a WRC drive with 2C Competition in 2020 and got behind the wheel of a Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC making his debut in World Rally Championship. His WRC dream came true thanks to the fact that he had the support of French Federation of Automobile Sport (FFSA). He took part in three rallies that year and had two retirements as he faced issues with his car. In 2021, it was supposed that he would have done a full season with 2C Competition, but he was not able to take part in the last three rallies of that season as he underwent a hip surgery after a car hit him in France. Back to his results for 2021, he was forced to retire in Monte Carlo and Croatia as he went off the road resulting in damaging heavily his i20. After these two DNFs, he decided to part ways with his co-driver, Vincent Landais, and announced Florian Haut-Labourdette who was member of Thierry Neuville’s gravel crew. Despite his having changed his co-driver, he continued doing mistakes as he had three more off-road excursions (Rally Portugal, Ypres Rally Belgium, Acropolis Rally Greece). However, it must be mentioned that he restarted under the regulations of Rally2 in Greece after his crash, but eventually he retired due to gearbox issues.

In 2022, he secured a part-time programme with M-Sport Ford starting his season from Rally Croatia. It must be mentioned that he changed again his navigator and confirmed his former co-driver for this year, Vincent Landais (they started competing together in 2015 and 2022 is their eighth year as a crew). Although he did not start his season in a positive way as he retired in Croatia after having a triple puncture and went off the road in Portugal, he finished fourth in Sardinia and in fact he was in third place overall during this rally. However, it is noteworthy that he was in fourth place in Portugal before his accident. At Rally Finland, he had a retirement due to a mechanical issue while he skipped Ypres Rally Belgium as this event was not included in his partial programme. The most impressive form for him was in Greece where he stole the lead from the nine-time World Rally Champion, Sebastien Loeb, at the end of Stage 5 and claimed his maiden stage win in WRC. He proved there that he has the skills to fight for a good result as he took another stage win and he did not give up despite the power steering issues he faced on Friday afternoon which had as a result to drop second overall. On Saturday, he suffered from a front left puncture and dropped even more behind (seventh place overall), but he continued pushing and was not affected by his problems. Eventually, he finished fourth in Greece taking advantage of his rivals’ problems and was the top M-Sport Ford driver there. His fourth place at Acropolis Rally was his second best result in his WRC career so far.

Even though a number of people doubted about his skills and criticized him very harshly on social media about his performance for the seasons 2020-2021, Pierre-Louis Loubet has been transformed into a mature driver and proved them wrong this year as it seems that Ford Puma Rally1 suits very well to his driving style. He returned stronger than before and worked even harder to be at the same level as the top drivers are, including the two WRC Champions, Sebastien Loeb and Ott Tanak. Maybe his current car and the fact that Vincent Landais returned to his seat helped Loubet to showcase even more his capabilities.

Photo Credits: M-Sport

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