Loeb 'fatigued' by WRC schedule

Autosport

Sebastien Loeb has revealed that the demanding schedule of competing in the World Rally Championship was the main factor in his decision to scale back his programme for 2013.

Citroen announced on Thursday that the eight-time world champion will run a reduced schedule in the WRC next year, while a new driver will come in to partner Mikko Hirvonen for a full-season attack.

Loeb, who is on course for a ninth title this year, clarified that his 2013 campaign will take in his favourite events as well as ones "which are important for Citroen". He also confirmed that he will contest the season-opening Monte Carlo Rally in January.

"It wasn't an easy decision to take," said Loeb. "On the one hand, I have to admit that I am a little tired of the schedule imposed by the World Rally Championship.

"What with the test sessions, reconnaissance and the various other things, I spend a lot of time away from my family.

"Having said that, I still love driving and winning. This season seems to show that I still have the pace, but I didn't want to stop after competing in one season too many either.

"I'll still be around in 2013, but not as consistently as now. I couldn't not include the Rallye Monte Carlo in my diary, so I'll be starting the season along with everyone else."

Loeb added that he is excited by the prospect of switching to the World Touring Car Championship in the future with Citroen, as he does not want to cut his ties with the French firm.

"Over the last 10 years, I could have taken up offers to go elsewhere, but I have always preferred to stay with the team that gave me my chance," he said.

"When we started talking about the role of ambassador that I might have in the future, I quickly felt that I would need an active role to feel completely satisfied.

"Given that I wanted to pursue my career in track racing, we came up with this idea together. After considering the various racing categories, the WTCC emerged as the best option.

"There are still a number of variables and imponderables in the equation, but I am excited about the prospect of competing in this championship."

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