Dan Trent: Channel your inner Loeb with a Peugeot 306 GTI6

17th April 2017
dan_trent_headshot.jpg Dan Trent

I'll admit it, I've got a bit of a man crush on Sebastien Loeb. His calculating approach to rallying may not have had the do or die romance of McRae or the flying Finns but with nine consecutive WRC titles under his belt, it was clearly more effective. 

And when he'd had enough he gave a Gallic shrug and went off to try circuit racing instead, with respectable results. While also dipping into the WRC and comfortably winning the odd round when it suited him, just to remind his former championship rivals the only reason they were winning was because he wasn't there. Chuck in a record-breaking Pikes Peak run in 2013 and it's clear he's got the mentality and focus to succeed in whatever form of motorsport he chooses.

At the moment that seems to involve entering local rallies in a 20-year-old Peugeot co-driven by his wife. And winning, obviously. Even if that means beating modern four-wheel drive WRC cars in a front-driven 306 with an 'old-fashioned' naturally-aspirated engine. I've watched some vids (see above) of this event and his combination of apparent nonchalance and massive speed are mesmerising.

Obviously, I was immediately in the classifieds looking for 306 Maxi rally cars like the one competed by the Loebs. They are around and they're not cheap – this one is up for 175,000 euros for instance. For all my '20-year-old Peugeot' teasing these are still trick pieces of kit, the wide-track carbon fibre bodywork concealing a properly specialist tarmac rally car ideally suited to road events on twisty Provencal roads. A sub-tonne weight and around 300bhp from a screaming 2.0-litre engine help too. 

OK, so something a little more realistic perhaps. A 306 Rallye would be lovely but I can't find one for sale at the moment and original ones are fast dying out. 


Good job the only 306 GTI6 currently in the PistonHeads classifieds looks like a good'n. In fact, it's the right colour too, being the same as one my incredibly generous boss used to lend me on occasion. Tim, if you only knew…

Moving swiftly on I remember that car as being both fast and incredibly agile. The 306 is a very handsome car too, those crisp Pininfarina lines striking a delicate but impeccable balance between sportiness and elegance. By modern standards – and given the way it goes – it's an understated machine. But from the meaningfully weighted steering to that charismatic 2.0-litre engine and 'passive' twist-beam rear-wheel steering it's a proper driver's car. A hot hatch for grown-ups, I like to think.

This one's low mileage, originality and solid history add up to a £6,995 asking price that might seem relatively steep. They're generally simple cars but benefit from proper care – regular cambelt changes are a must for instance. The reality is they've been cheap for a long time though, this meaning many have been run on a shoestring, modded, crashed and trashed and treated as cheap, disposable fun. Those worth saving are few and far between but there's now a generation reaching the point where they're considering a 'mid-life crisis' plaything and find themselves priced out of the market for classic Porsches and similar. As such revisiting their hot hatch glory days in a car like a GTI6 is a tempting alternative, the scarcity of well-preserved cars like this meaning your money would be safe I reckon.

With that in mind, I probably wouldn't drive it with quite the gusto of Mr and Mrs Loeb out for a spin down the lanes. But the thought would be there. 

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