A Super-big Happy B-day to Super Seb!

February 26 marks the birth of Sebastien Loeb. So who’s ready for the love fest?

The man’s a genius. He went for so long without any mistakes, even Marcus Gronholm wondered if he was a man or a machine. Super Seb… The Master… Mr. Perfect…ain’t it the truth?

Look at the facts: an unmatched 29 victories (34% of all rallies he’s started); 49 podiums (58% of rallies he’s entered); world champion in 2004, 2005, and 2006; his first championship points finish was in 2nd place; a record 6 consecutive wins in 2005; a win at every Rallye Deutschland ever run; the first non-Scandinavian to win the Swedish Rally; and 12 out of 12 stage scratch times at the Tour de Corse in 2005. Best. Driver. Ever.

His driving style is impeccable. It’s not all sideways and showy, but it’s fast. It’s the seamless way he slings the car around bends like a gymnast on the pommel horse. It’s how quick he is on the throttle coming out of corners. It’s those unbelievably tight donuts he can do. It all adds up to a charisma and a command of the road that only Seb can possess.

Despite all the accolades, he’s still a humble, friendly guy who’s not afraid to compliment his rivals or admit a mistake (however rare they are).

Speaking of mistakes, look at them closely. Especially the spin in the 2005 Rallye Deutschland and the corner in 2007’s Rallye Monte Carlo. He corrects his error before the error’s even done being an error. He overshot that square right in Germany, but spun the car around so he could just hit the accelerator and continue. He avoided a front impact in Monte by hitting the hand brake and turning it into a sideways bump, facing the right direction. He’s got the reflexes of a cat (if cats drove rally cars).

Despite not finishing his education, his brain is a supercomputer. In a non-rally appearance in the 2006 24 Heures du Le Mans, the Pescarolo Judd pitted and his teammate hopped out of the car. When Seb got in, he managed to drive off one-handed, without stalling and without hitting anyone, all while inputing his driver code with his right hand. That’s what happens when he has one race track and no pacenotes to worry about. He probably could have made pancakes and ironed his laundry with his feet at the same time.

Gotta love his smile. He never gives an interview without a smile. It balances out frowny Marcus.

And where Marcus sometimes drives away from the stage end without a word, Seb is always good for a detailed, honest assessment of his performance.

He’s “glacially cool” and relaxed. Even when he was stuck at home with a broken arm, he took it in stride, even if he hated it.

The French accent doesn’t hurt. Or his boyish good looks. Or his muscular physique. Or the way his blue-grey eyes crinkle when he laughs…but I digress.

So, in case you were wondering what I’ll be doing in 2007, I’ll be rooting for a fourth consecutive world championship for my favorite driver. Who knows what other heights he can climb?

Smiley    With the Michelin Man!

Playing along with Neil Cole    Eek.

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February 26, 2007. Appreciation, Auto Racing, Citroen, Motorsport, Rally, Rally Reports, Rallying, WRC.

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