RALLYE Monte-Carlo, the opening round of the 2015 FIA World Rally Championship, has attracted a star-studded entry including 96 crews, 18 world rally cars and two drivers who between them have accrued 11 world titles.
Defending champion Sebastien Ogier heads the seeded list issued by rally organisers, with his Volkswagen Motorsport team-mate Jari-Matti Latvala second. Andreas Mikkelsen will drive a third Polo R under the Motorsport II banner.
Kris Meeke and his guest teammate, nine-time world champion Sebastien Loeb, are the two nominated drivers for the Citroen Total Abu Dhabi Team, while Mads Ostberg will drive a third DS3 WRC for the French squad.
Also listed in DS3 World Rally Cars are Sébastien Chardonnet, who campaigned an R5-spec Citroen last year, and Yurii Protasov, who has switched from Ford Fiesta power in 2014.
Thierry Neuville and Dani Sordo are the two registered drivers of the Hyundai Motorsport squad.
The M-Sport World Rally Team will run Fiesta RS cars for points nominated drivers Ott Tanak and Elfyn Evans, and another for asphalt ace Bryan Bouffier – an early leader at last year’s Monte.
There are also Fiesta RS World Rally Cars for Henning SolbergRobert Kubica, Martin Prokop and Lorenzo Bertelli who will make his World Rally Car debut in the series for his FWRT team.
The WRC2 category has attracted 11 entries, including French rising stars Stephan Lefebvre and Quentin Giordano, both of whom will drive R5-spec Citroen DS3 cars. Ireland’s Craig Breen will begin his WRC2 campaign at the wheel of a Peugeot 208 R5.
There are also 11 entries in the opening round of the JWRC competition, including 2014 season frontrunners Quentin Gilbert and Christian Reidemann.
There’s a fabulous fight in prospect in the FIA’s new RGT class, with WRC ace Francois Delecour going up against racing legends Marc Duez and Romain Dumas in Porsche 911 cars.
The rally, which this year celebrates its 83rd running, gets underway from Place du Casino in Monte-Carlo on Thursday 22 January.