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
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 dominated the Monte-Carlo Rally,
with Loeb racking up eight wins and Ogier a total of nine, including the 2023
Monaco’s own Daniel Eléna was Sébastien Loeb’s faithful co-pilot for his
seven wins in the “Monte”, between 2003 and 2013.
The WRC, a sustainability
The 2022 Monte-Carlo Rally was the first chance to see the new “Rally1”
rechargable hybrids in all their glory. All ICE cars are a thing of the past.
The arrival of hybrid technology in the World Rally Championship brings
with it a power boost of 100 kW, while the cars’ all-electric range is
estimated at 20 km.
The FIA has also chosen the company P1 Racing Fuels to supply a 100%
sustainable fuel, which uses no fossil materials but is entirely made from
synthetic and bio-sourced ingredients.
It represents a pioneering move from the WRC, which is the first FIA
world championship to introduce the new technology.
For the 2024 season, the Toyota Gazoo Racing team is set to launch its new Yaris Rally2, the next generation of hybrid rally car.
Under the official specifications, the Rally2's chassis and engine must be based on a series production model of which more than 2,500 are made and sold to the public, and the appearance and exterior design must be substantially similar to that of the original vehicle.
Mind the Gap…
In 2022 and 2023, the Monte-Carlo Rally took up residence in the
Principality for the winter.
This year, the queen of the Rally races is moving to higher latitudes -
and altitudes. Owing to major on-going work, there is insufficient space in
Monaco for the assistance park and various race infrastructures. So the
Organising Committee at the Automobile Club de Monaco has opted to return to
the Hautes-Alpes département, and specifically the town of Gap, which was the
host town from 2014 to 2021.
With 14 mountain passes to navigate along 17 special stages across five
French départements, the route of this inaugural stage of the FIA 2024 WRC has
gone up in the world - quite literally - hoping for an even more snowbound
route than in previous years.
But the official start, finish, and trophy ceremony will remain in
Monaco, taking place on the Place du Casino as is now traditional.
The legend lives on...
To finish the event in style, the final
special stage will be the legendary: La Bollène-Vésubie / Col de Turini, which
will also be a Power Stage.
This special stage has been driven in the dark, in the snow, and ice. Triumph and failure, joy and despair, the drivers have seen it all. And the legend was born. For many years, the Col de Turini was the culmination of the Monte-Carlo Rally.
A duel at the top?
At the end of the 2023 Monte-Carlo Rally, Sébastien Loeb - who had
missed the race - texted the winner Sébastien Ogier to congratulate him, and to
challenge him to a rermatch on the winding roads of the Riviera.
Loeb will be hoping to equal his rival’s number of wins in the rally by
claiming his 9th victory in 2024!
For more information about the event, click HERE.
©ACM ; Toyota / McKlein