Sébastien, this year will be your seventh appearance at The Race of Champions. What’s so special about the event?
- Six-time World Rally Champion Sébastien Loeb will compete at this year’s Race Of Champions in Düsseldorf on November 27-28
Loeb will partner racing legend Alain Prost in the ROC Nations Cup, making up a formidable duo for Team France. The other confirmed drivers so far are German Formula 1 stars Michael Schumacher and Sebastian Vettel
What I like about The Race of Champions is that you meet some of the drivers from other forms of motor sport, such as Formula 1 and other types of racing. What makes it exciting is that it’s the only event where you have to compete against drivers from different disciplines. Okay, it’s not big pressure, it’s just for fun and for the spectators so it’s a good atmosphere. That all makes it special and it’s why I like it.
This year you’ll be competing alongside Alain Prost in Team France for the first time. What does that mean to you?
I’m delighted to be racing with Alain, who is a driver I admire for what he has achieved in his career. I know him but not particularly well – we’ve only met a few times so far. So this will be a nice chance to spend some time together and really get to know him. I think we make up a good Team France so I’m sure we can work well together.
How closely did you follow Alain’s career when you were younger?
It’s such a long time ago now that I can hardly remember that far back! But of course at the time everybody knew Alain Prost as he was obviously the most famous French driver. So I admired what he was doing – but I can’t say he was my hero because I wasn’t a big fan of any one driver in particular.
Now Alain does ice racing – which is a bit more like rallying than racing. What do you think of his performances in the Andros Trophy?
He’s been doing very well in that – but just as with The Race of Champions it’s more for fun, no pressure. Of course when a driver reaches the end of their career, it’s difficult to stop everything completely. You always need to have some adrenalin – and I think he’s found that in the Andros Trophy. He’s found something interesting to do after his career and he’s done very well so good for him.
Everyone claims The Race of Champions is a light-hearted event, but how much would the pair of you like to beat Germany at home in the ROC Nations Cup?
Some teams are really strong and I know Germany are always strong. We’d like to do well too but it’s always hard to know beforehand because the fights are always so close. So we’ll see, but for sure we’ll try everything to win it.
You have amazing record in the individual Race of Champions, having reached the Grand Final on each of your six appearances – what’s the secret?
These races are always something new for everybody at the time. So in this style of driving you have to adapt very quickly to each type of car and it’s just a question of feeling. There’s no particular secret and I have no special preparation. I just always drive as fast as I can and as fast as I can feel – and that’s it.
Do you enjoy the mix of cars and switching very quickly between them?
It’s not easy but it’s something special about The Race of Champions. Normally we just stay in our own cars and we always get used to everything about them. But in this race we have to discover everything quickly, and to understand very quickly how each car works. That’s interesting because it is very different from what we drivers are used to.
Have you got a favourite moment from The Race of Champions?
I would say my best memories came from my very first year at Gran Canaria in 2002. I was still new to the World Rally Championship and I was not so well known. So for me it was great to go to Gran Canaria and fight with the other big names. After that we also had the race at the Stade de France in Paris, which was also a very good time. There were so many people there and I felt the public behind me. It was a great atmosphere.
How much would it mean to you to take a 2010 treble of the World Rally Championship, the ROC Nations Cup and The Race of Champions?
Obviously the world championship is the most important, The Race of Champions is more for fun. But I always want to win – there’s no question of not winning – so when I take the start of any race I just go for it and try to win. So it would certainly be nice to win all three, but so far I haven’t won any of them so it’s still very far away…