WRC superstar Sebastien Loeb's career crash record is impressively clean... Well, it was up until a spectacular accident at the 2009 Acropolis Rally.
Sebastien Loeb doesn’t really do accidents. In fact, when he tried out a new high-speed corkscrew rollercoaster in Spain some years ago, a friend asked him what it was like – was it like rolling a rally car at high speed, for instance?
“I don’t know,” came the Frenchman’s laconic reply. “I’ve never tried it.”
But on the Acropolis Rally – which he’s currently leading – the Red Bull driver made up for his previously unblemished record in 2009. He crashed his Citroen C4 WRC big time, while running third.
“It was definitely the biggest accident of my career,” he reflected. “We were in sixth gear, so no crash at that speed is ever going to be small. It was my fault: I heard the pace note but I was just a little too fast. We slid wide and clipped the side of a rock. That sent the car rolling: about four or five times I think.”
It was actually six, as we pointed out to the eight-time World Champion. “Six? That’s pretty impressive,” he replied. “But you don’t really count when you’re inside the car: everything goes round and round and you simply wait for it to stop. We weren’t hurt at all: maybe a little stiff the following day, but nothing special.”
Drivers are a strange breed, because not even an accident of that magnitude makes them think twice in any way.
“It really wasn’t such a big deal,” Loeb shrugged. “In fact, I don’t really remember any of the details now. The important thing is always to try and understand how the accident happened, and what the mistake was that you made, so that you don’t do it again. Then you close the chapter and walk on. Simple.”
You know you're dealing with a breathtakingly competent driver when he makes even crashing sound easy…