Wrc – Rallye Monte-Carlo- Preview…

The FIA World Rally Championship roars back into action next week with the oldest and most famous event of them all, Rallye Monte-Carlo (24-27 January). While classed as an asphalt event, its winter slot in the calendar almost certainly guarantees unpredictable conditions, and a tricky mix of dry and wet asphalt, snow and ice in the French mountains can be expected.

Gambling on tyre choices that provide the best compromise for all these conditions – potentially all in the same stage – is an art form that also tests drivers’ abilities to read the road and manage pace and tyre wear throughout an entire stage, or loop of stages.

Citroën, Hyundai, M-Sport Ford and Toyota are once again set to do battle on the world’s stages and while their state-of-the-art world rally cars remain largely the same, changes in driver line-ups could shuffle the pack. Reigning FIA World Rally Champion Sébastien Ogier moves back to Citroën with a new team-mate in Esapekka Lappi.

The sport’s most successful driver, Sébastien Loeb, makes another exciting comeback and kicks off a six-round campaign with Hyundai, joining regulars Thierry Neuville and Andreas Mikkelsen in i20 Coupe WRCs. Elfyn Evans remains with M-Sport Ford for a fifth season but with a new co-driver, while team-mate Teemu Suninen kicks off a full season in a top specification world rally car for the first time, also with a new co-driver.

The squad will also be supported by former FIA WRC 2 Champion Pontus Tidemand in Monte-Carlo. Kris Meeke is back in the Championship with reigning champions Toyota, team-mate to Ott Tänak and Jari-Matti Latvala.

Citroën, M-Sport and Škoda have already registered for the newly created FIA WRC 2 Pro Championship for manufacturers of R5 cars and will be fielding entries on the opening round of the 2019 series. The Volkswagen Polo GTI R5, which made its competitive debut at the end of last year, is back on the WRC stages in the FIA WRC 2 Championship amid a field of other competitors in the category. Rallye Monte-Carlo is also the first round of the FIA RGT Cup.

THE 2019 ROUTE

The 87th edition of Rallye Monte-Carlo sees the start ceremony move to Place Desmichels in Gap on Thursday evening and the competition immediately gets underway with two new night stages. More fresh challenges await on Friday’s longest day with two loops of three stages; SS3/6 is also completely new, SS4/7 is largely unchanged and SS5/8 has never been driven in this direction. Saturday’s route, which ultimately takes the crews to Monaco, takes in two repeated loops of two stages covering 93.38 competitive kilometres, both of which are virtually the same as 2018. On Bank Holiday Sunday, the top 60 crews will take in two runs over the iconic Col de Turini and La Cabanette-Col de Braus stages, the latter hosting the all-important Power Stage. In a change to recent tradition, and due to the Bank Holiday celebrating St Devote, the Patron Saint of the Principality, the Prize-Giving ceremony will take place on Quai Albert 1er.

Three stages will be broadcast live on television; the opening 20 kilometre night stage La Breole-Selonnet (Thursday), SS12 (St Leger les Melezes-La Batie Neuve 2) on Saturday and the closing Power Stage on Sunday (La Cabanette-Col de Braus). All stages are however available live on WRC All Live on the WRC+ platform.

RALLY DATA

Total distance: 1,366.43 km
Stage distance: 323.83 km (23.7%)
Number of stages: 16
MEDIA ACCREDITATIONThe Accreditation Centre is located at the Centre Omnisport COSEC, Avenue de Traunstein, 05000 Gap. The opening hours are:

Tuesday 22 January 08:00-18:00 hrs
Wednesday 23 January 08:00-21.00 hrs
Thursday 24 January 08:00-21:00 hrs
RALLYE MONTE-CARLO TIMETABLE AND MEDIA OPPORTUNITIES ORGANISED BY THE FIA
Wednesday 23 January
Mandatory media safety briefing, Photographers’ Room 17:00 hrs
Thursday 24 January
Shakedown (P1 and P2P drivers) 10:00-12:00 hrs
Shakedown (all drivers) 12:00-14:00 hrs
‘Meet the Crews’, Service Park, Gap 14:00 hrs
FIA Press Conference, Press Room, Gap 14:30 hrs
Autograph session, Service Park, Gap 15:30-16:00 hrs
World Rally Car photo-shoot, Desmichels Square, Gap 18:00 hrs
FIA WRC Season photo-shoot, Alsace-Lorraine Square, Gap 18:15 hrs
First car departs, Gap 18:50 hrs
First car arrives for service and Media Zone, Gap 21:31 hrs
Meet the Crews, Service Park, Gap During the 48’ service
Friday 25 January
First car arrives for regroup, service and Media Zone, Gap 12:17 hrs
First car arrives for final service and Media Zone, Gap 17:34 hrs
‘Meet the Crews’, Service Park, Gap During the 48’ service
Saturday 26 January
First car arrives for regroup, service and Media Zone, Gap 11:06 hrs
First car arrives for final service and Media Zone, Gap 15:08 hrs
‘Meet the Crews’, Service Park, Gap During the 48’ service
Sunday 27 January
Regroup, Peïra-Cava 11:25 hrs
Prize-Giving and podium ceremony, Quai Albert 1er, Monaco 15:00 hrs
FIA Press Conference, Press Room, Monaco 16:00 hrs
FIA PRESS CONFERENCE ATTENDANCE
Thursday 24 January Yoann Bonato, FIA WRC 2 Pro Championship
Gus Greensmith, FIA WRC 2 Pro Championship
Adrien Fourmaux, FIA WRC 2 Championship
Ole Christian Veiby, FIA WRC 2 Championship
Sébastien Ogier, Citroën Total World Rally Team
Sébastien Loeb, Hyundai Shell Mobis World Rally Team
Teemu Suninen, M-Sport Ford World Rally Team
Kris Meeke, Toyota Gazoo Racing World Rally Team
Sunday 27 January Winning FIA WRC 2 Pro Championship crew
Winning FIA WRC 2 Championship crew
Top three crews in the overall classification
Representative of the winning competitor
MANUFACTURER ENTRIES, RALLYE MONTE-CARLO
Citroën Total WRT Sébastien Ogier / Julien Ingrassia (#1)
Esapekka Lappi / Janne Ferm (#4)
Hyundai Shell Mobis WRT Thierry Neuville / Nicolas Gilsoul (#11)
Andreas Mikkelsen / Anders Jæger (#89)
Sébastien Loeb / Daniel Elena (#19)
M-Sport Ford WRT Elfyn Evans / Scott Martin (#33)
Teemu Suninen / Marko Salminen (#3)
Pontus Tidemand / Ola Fløene (#7)
Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT Ott Tänak / Martin Järveoja (#8)
Jari-Matti Latvala / Miikka Anttila (#10)
Kris Meeke / Sebastian Marshall (#5)

ADDITIONAL MEDIA OPPORTUNITIES

Autograph Signing Session: On Friday and Saturday selected crews will be available for a 15 minute autograph session. This will take place in the service park during the end of day service at the teams’ service areas.