Nine-time World Rally champions Sébastien Loeb and Daniel Elena have parted ways after a difficult 2021 Dakar Rally.
The duo announced they will no longer be together as pilot and co-pilot, after a relationship that lasted 23 years and got them nine World Rally Championships with 79 victories and 119 podiums.
“Séb called me shortly before midday today to let me know that he will be continuing his career with another co-driver,” Daniel Elena said.
“He told me that Prodrive requested it, that they found that I was not as motivated, and I made too many navigational errors during the last Dakar.”
Sébastien Loeb stated that “time will tell if it is the right decision. But that doesn’t change my relationship with Daniel.”
“Let’s look at the figures from our previos Dakars together,” said Elena. “In 2016 we won four stages; Peterhansel won three, Sainz two, Nasser two. We won the most stages that year. I don’t know how to navigate? That was my first year.”
Elena clarified that his navigational errors in the 2021 edition of the Dakar Rally were not representative of who he is as a co-driver.
“OK, I got a bit lost on the first stage because I was discovering the new digital tablet and how it worked but I don’t think we made any more errors than the others.”
Sébastien Loeb said the separation from Elena after 23 years was not an easy decision.
“We discussed a lot with Prodrive and after analyzing our last outing on the Dakar, we came to the conclusion that it would be best to try something else. I am 47 years old, I’ve not got many more years ahead of me to win the Dakar, so I want to give myself the best chance.”