DTM debut by Sébastian Loeb: in the season opener at Portimão in Portugal from 29 April till 1 May, the nine-time rally world champion will be racing as a replacement driver for the Red Bull AlphaTauri AF Corse team. In the first two races, the Frenchman is replacing New Zealander Nick Cassidy who due to another driver commitment isn’t participating in all the races of the 2022 DTM season. Rally legend Loeb will be racing the Ferrari 488 in the colours of Red Bull’s premium fashion brand AlphaTauri, his teammate Felipe Fraga from Brazil is racing the Red Bull Ferrari throughout the season. As a replacement driver, Sébastien Loeb is eligible to score points according to the regulations.
Gerhard Berger: “Having the most successful rally driver of all times with us in our season opener at Portimão is a genuine highlight that fans can look forward to. The achievements in his career speak for themselves, but nevertheless, it will be a hard competition against very strong drivers, for Sébastien Loeb as well. Standing in for Nick Cassidy, he will be fighting for points with the AlphaTauri Ferrari, so therefore I am certain that a champion of his stature will be highly motivated coming to the race track.”
The 48-year-old Frenchman impressively has nine world championship titles and 80 rally wins to his tally but is also quite familiar with circuit racing. For instance, he participated in the Le Mans 24 Hours in 2006 (2nd place) or in the World Touring Car Championship in 2014 and 2015 (3rd in the final standings in both years). In 2022, Loeb already had success, too: he won the second and the seventh stage of the Dakar Rally and finished second overall. Only one week later, he won the Monte Carlo Rally for the eighth time. In February, he scored his fourth career win in the Race of Champions, held at the frozen Baltic Sea in Sweden for the first time, ahead of four-time Formula 1 world champion Sebastian Vettel. Moreover, Loeb owns his own race team named ‘Sébastien Loeb Racing’.
Prior to his DTM debut, Sébastien Loeb says: “Throughout my career, I have always liked to change between disciplines. DTM is a famous championship and as the opportunity came up for me to compete in it, I took it, of course. It is an exciting challenge because the driving style is entirely different.” The Frenchman is well aware of the fact that he will be up against the world’s best GT drivers, but he is looking forward to the season opener: “Now, it is time to work. I will be up against specialists in such racers and my last proper GT3 race already is a long time ago. My goal will be to find my rhythm as well as I can and I will try to use my experience to give the team good feedback about the set-up of the car. I know that it will be difficult but the cars really are fun to drive. Really fast, nice cars. Therefore, I am looking forward to it,” the 48-year-old says.
The team’s goal has been clearly stated already: defending the teams’ title with Brazilian Felipe Fraga, New Zealander Nick Cassidy and initially also Frenchman Sébastien Loeb and also aiming at the DTM champion’s title.
The action starts with the first official DTM test days at Hockenheimring on Tuesday and Wednesday this week (5/6 April), with free admission for spectators. The second official test days will follow on 26 and 27 April in Portimão, Portugal, where the first two of the season’s 16 sprint races will be held immediately afterwards, from 29 April to 1 May.
Source. DTM/Photo. Red Bull
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