How Sebastien Loeb is keeping busy during the time of social isolation
Sebastien Loeb is nine-time World Rally Champion, has won the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, done reasonably well in the World Rallycross Championship, and still takes part in world level rallying, competing in the WRC for the Hyundai World Rally Team. Now, like the rest of us, the Frenchman is ensconced indoors, practising social isolation, which is the need of the hour. So, what exactly is he up to? The Hyundai Team managed to ask Loeb a few questions about what's keeping him busy, and here's what he had to say.
Séb, firstly and most importantly, are you all keeping well?
We are doing well, yes. I am at home in Switzerland, staying where we are as much as possible like everybody else at this difficult time. I would say I am quite lucky because we live close to the forest in a house with a garden. There are many others less fortunate.
Sebastien Loeb pictured here at Rally Sweden 2019 (Photo courtesy: Helena El Mokni/Hyundai Motorsport GmbH)
What are you doing to keep active?
I do a bit of cycling sometimes in the morning. I bought and built a trampoline for the garden, so that was another day of work, but I enjoy jumping on that. In Switzerland it's not as restricted as in France but we still minimise our movements. All the restaurants, bars and shops are closed so we have to keep ourselves entertained.
For someone who is usually so active, how do you cope with the restrictions?
We have no choice but to cope with it. We cannot do much more. We have to accept this situation, respect the rules and play our part in trying to reduce the spread of this virus. Of course, it's not easy but we have to cope, watch some movies, play some stages on the PlayStation. I have been playing games like Monopoly, just spending time as a family waiting for the situation to get better.
Are you as competitive at Monopoly as you are in a rally car?
Yes. Last time I won.
If you could re-live one of your past rallies during this period, which one would you choose?
Maybe my first victory in Finland; it was an incredible sensation to be on the limit like this. Actually, thinking about it a bit more, something I would happily live again is my victory in Alsace, France. When I won the rally, I won the manufacturer and driver title at the same (time). This was all in front of my family and friends. In a moment like this, today, I would love to see these people and to celebrate something with them.
Is there anything particular you are looking forward to when this situation is over?
I haven't driven the Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC since Monte-Carlo so I can't wait to get back behind the wheel again, whether in a rally or test. I am looking forward to that. It is natural that we are all missing the things that we work on together as a team, but the most important thing right now is to stay safe.
Do you have a message for all the fans around the world?
We are missing rally competition just as much as the fans are. We are hoping we can start back as quickly as possible, and to drive again, but this is dependent on everyone following the rules, to stay at home and to be safe. If we all work together in the same direction to fight against this virus, the quicker we will be back.
And in the meantime, we can all follow the Séb Loeb trampoline gymnastics challenge online?
Then I would have to ask my daughter to do that. She's now a bit better than me on the trampoline!
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