Loeb to make second 2020 WRC outing with Hyundai in Turkey – WRC

Sebastien Loeb will make his second outing of the 2020 World Rally Championship season with Hyundai in next month’s Rally Turkey.

The nine-time champion will join Hyundai’s full-season drivers Thierry Neuville and Ott Tanak for the Marmaris-based event at the wheel of a third i20 Coupe WRC.

It will mark Loeb’s first top-level outing since January’s Monte Carlo Rally, one of three events this year to take place before the COVID-19 pause, in which he finished sixth.

Craig Breen took over the third Hyundai for the following round in Sweden, while Dani Sordo made his first and so far only confirmed outing of 2020 in Mexico.

Loeb is a three-time winner at Rally Turkey, for Citroen in 2004, 2005 and 2010, with this year’s event marking his first return since his triumph 10 years ago when the rally was based in Istanbul.

The WRC will resume next weekend in Estonia, where Breen will return alongside Neuville and Tanak, before Turkey hosts the fifth round of the season on 18-20 September.

After Turkey, the reshuffled 2020 WRC campaign then heads to Germany (15-18 October) and Sardinia (29 October-1 November) before a new-look finale in Belgium at the asphalt-based Ypres Rally.

Last weekend home hero Tanak dominated Estonia warm-up event, the Louna-Eesti Ralli, winning all bar one of its eight stages and ending up some 13 seconds clear of nearest rival, the Toyota Yaris WRC of Kalle Rovanpera.

Finnish driver Rovanpera was the only other driver to win a stage, beating team-mate Sebastien Ogier to second place, while Neuville finished fifth behind M-Sport WRC driver Esapekka Lappi, who was piloting a JanPro Racing-prepared privateer Ford Fiesta WRC.

Elfyn Evans in the third Toyota suffered a high-speed crash on the fifth stage.

Ogier currently leads the WRC drivers’ championship thanks to his win at the shortened Rally Mexico, the last WRC to be run in this year, which was finished early amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Evans is eight points behind Ogier in the standings, with defending WRC champion Tanak in fifth having retired from the season opener in Monte Carlo before consecutive runner-up finishes in Sweden and Mexico.

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