EVENT PROFILE: RALLYE MONTE-CARLO
21-24 January 2016
Fox Sports Australia (check local guides)
WRC+ LIVE on-line
WRC, WRC2, WRC3
x 16, 374.89 competitive; total 1474.34 km
After Thursday evening’s Monte-Carlo start outside the Casino, two stages in darkness near Digne-les-Bains punctuate the run north to Gap. Three stages in the Hautes Alpes and Isère regions, north of Gap, form Friday’s action. Competitors return to Monaco on Saturday via two passes of the marathon 51.55km Lardier et Valença–Faye and the classic Sisteron–Thoard. Sunday’s final leg, as is traditional, runs in the Alpes Maritimes mountains above Monaco and features the legendary Col de Turini.
Essentially an asphalt rally but unpredictable mountain weather brings varied conditions. Competitors must expect snow, ice and dry asphalt – often encountering all in the same stage. They must balance the need for grip in winter weather with that required for dry asphalt. Shrewd tyre selection providing the best compromise for frequently changing conditions is key. Experience and the ability to ‘read’ conditions is vital.
Asphalt suspension. Strange tyre selections which can include studded tyres on opposite corners of the car matched with dry weather slick rubber. Two spare tyres is normal. Additional headlight pods for Thursday´s night stages.
What’s new for 2016:
Each day includes a new stage compared to the 2015 rally. Friday’s night’s 20.23km Barles–Seyne test has never been run in this direction. Saturday’s Saint Leger les Mélèzes–La Batie Neuve stage crosses the Ancelle ski slopes. Only the top 60 classified competitors will start Sunday’s final leg.
Col de Turini. One of the sport’s iconic locations, where enormous crowds will gather to watch competitors cross the mountain summit in the La Bollene Vesubie–Peira Cava test in the final leg. An incredible atmosphere. Sunday’s finish outside the Palace in Monaco, with monarch Prince Albert presenting the prizes.
Rallye Monte-Carlo is the WRC’s jewel in the crown and the oldest in the calendar. First run in 1911, it was designed to promote Monte-Carlo as a tourist destination, with competitors starting from different European cities before gathering in Monaco. The 1966 rally became famed for its controversial outcome when giant-killing Mini Coopers claimed the top three places before being disqualified for alleged infringements of headlight regulations.