Loeb and Ogier go head to head

Loeb 911The hottest action in Monaco this weekend might not be in the Grand Prix, the Casino or the afterdecks of one those Superyachts sometime after dark. On Sunday morning there is a 16-lap race for round two of this year’s Porsche Supercup. “Whatever,” we hear you say, “Turn up at any race meeting and there are a bunch of 911s circulating in some race for some championship, national, local or whatever.”

Well Sebastian Loeb is racing in this one, as he did in Spain in the drop-dead gorgeous Martini ‘works’ 991 GT3. Loeb, as we know, has gone part time on the WRC this year and not just after nine back-to-back world championships to give someone else a chance (and we’ll come to that) but to give himself something of a present with what may go down in racing as any drivers’ ‘best summer ever’.

Porsche Supercup and WRC aside, Loeb is racing in the FIA GT series in a McLaren 12C, trying his hand at Pike’s Peak in that insane Peugeot 208 T16 and having a crack at rallycross too. He’s yet to confirm whether he’ll back at the X-Games and the Race of Champions.

And so far it’s going well, winning two of the three WRC events he’s entered (there’s only one more to go in France) and winning the opening round of the FIA GT series in his own team’s Mac. The Supercup debut however didn’t go so well; eleventh is not a position the 78-times WRC winner recognises. And this weekend it won’t get any easier because also racing is the 39 year-olds’ young French nemesis, Sebastian Ogier.

Ogier, ten years younger, and Loeb were teammates at Citroen in 2011. It didn’t go well. Think Vettel and Webber. But ten times worse. Team orders came in to it as Citroen was forced to declare its loyalty to its somewhat peeved champ who didn’t take kindly to getting beaten by Ogier. Ogier left, took 2012 off (sort of) and is now heading towards the 2013 title with Volkswagen and the Polo WRC. But maybe only because Loeb’s not there; in the three events in which they’ve both competed, as we have said, Loeb has won two.

There is real needle here then and this Sunday’s race will be the first time the two have been in identical machines since those WRC DS3 Citroens in 2011. Loeb as we have said, didn’t have a great debut and Ogier we know is extremely fast on tarmac. And all this takes place on (sort of) French soil. Loeb is national superhero in France where he was awarded Légion D’honneur in 2009. No pressure then. Worth getting out of bed for if you have Eurosport – the race starts at 0845 BST.

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So, they’re like Senna and Prost, then?

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ogier is not very poular in france (yet). loeb is god. if ogier wins the wrc this season, no one will take this title seriously. pretty humiliating what loeb is doing… just participating in 4 events and winning fingers in the nose.

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