Monte Carlo Rally winner Sebastien Loeb says he has no regrets over his decision to retire from the World Rally Championship despite starting his part-time season with a victory. He also dismissed any suggestion that he could return for Monte Carlo again next season.
Loeb dominated the Valence-based event to win from Sebastien Ogier by more than a minute, collecting his seventh success on the WRC's opening round of the season. Throughout the event, Loeb was questioned about whether this year really would be his last Monte Carlo, one of his favorite rallies on the calendar.
"It's a choice I made, to do something else [and move away from the WRC] and I didn't make this choice to miss what I am doing now," he insisted. "I have been in the rally for 10 years and this will be a change when I do something else. Maybe I will come back and watch next year and it's only then that I'll know if I miss this rally."
Without a championship to aim for this season, there were also questions raised about Loeb's motivation coming into the event. Ahead of the rally, he had admitted he was not sure how motivated he would be on round one.
"It made no difference," he said. "The motivation was just the same once we got into the stages and started driving. And these are such fantastic stages with the snow, I had a lot of fun."
Loeb's co-driver Daniel Elena – who has previously competed on his home rally as a driver - joked that he would be back even if his partner was not.
"I'll be on the startline next year as a driver," smiled Elena. "It was a nice emotion this time."
Loeb and Elena will stay in the WRC for the second round in Sweden before taking a break and returning in Argentina. They will say farewell to the championship on their home round in France.