Every January, Monaco is the setting for the opening leg of the FIA World Rally Championship, with an iconic race on the roads of the hinterland.
A little history...
The jewel of the Championship, the Monte-Carlo Rally is the oldest event on the calendar.
Its first edition in 1911 was designed to promote Monaco as a tourist destination. The teams started from several European cities before meeting in the Principality.
The event took place in January, to show that the Principality's climate at that time of the year was exceptionally mild. Two men are today considered to be the creator of the rally: Gabriel Vialon and Antony Noghes. Société des Bains de Mer funded the operation, which saw just 23 competitors take part that first year.
The following year, that figured quadrupled and the Monte-Carlo Rally was well and truly on the map!
Since the first winner in 1911, French driver Henry Rougier, this top-class sporting event has provided decades of thrills and spills.
The "Sebs" - Sébastien Loeb and Sébastien Ogier - have dominated the Monte-Carlo Rally, with eight wins for Sébastien Loeb and nine for Sébastien Ogier, winner of the 2023 race!
Monaco's very own Daniel Eléna was Sébastien Loeb's loyal co-driver for his first seven wins in the "Monte", between 2003 and 2013.
The WRC, a sustainability pioneer...
The 2022 Monte-Carlo Rally was the first chance to see the new rechargeable hybrid models known as the "Rally1" series in all their splendour. All-combustion engines are a thing of the past in this competition.
The arrival of hybrid powertrains in the World Rally Championship brought with it a 100 kW electric boost, with an all-electric range now estimated at 20 km.
The FIA has enlisted P1 Racing Fuels to supply fully-sustainable fuel, which uses no fossil materials, in favour of synthetic and bioderived ingredients.
The WRC is a pioneer in this field, as the first FIA world championship competition to introduce this new technology.
Night of the Turini…
As in 2022, the Monte-Carlo Rally is coming to the Principality for the winter. The course now has new features that significantly raise the difficulty bar, with routes winding through the Alpes-Maritimes and Alpes-de-Haute-Provence départements.
The famed Turini pass, one of the most iconic in the FIA World Rally Championship, will kick off the new season on Thursday evening in the darkness, with the competitors then required to negotiate it twice more on Sunday.
This special stage has been raced in the snow, the cold, and the dark. Joy and despair, triumph and disaster, the drivers have seen it all, and hence a legend was born. For many years, the Turini pass was the closing highlight of the Monte-Carlo Rally.
At the end of the 2023 Monte-Carlo Rally, Sébastien Loeb - absent this year - sent a text to the winner Sébastien Ogier, to congratulate him and challenge him to a rematch on the winding roads of the region. Loeb will be hoping to even the scores by winning this Monegasque rally for the ninth time in 2024!
To find the event in the Agenda, click HERE.