Frenchman Sebastien Ogier triumphed at the Monte Carlo Rally on 27 January, beating his main rival Thierry Neuville by just 2.2 seconds. It was the six-time world champion’s sixth win in the first race of the world championships and seventh overall. Ogier was racing for Citroen and his performance gave the French car manufacturer its 100th win in rally history. Estonian driver Ott Tanak finished in third place.
A new format
Eighty-four crews took part in the 2019 Monte Carlo Rally, which officially started on Thursday 24 January, after two-and-a-half recce days. The Monaco event is the first race of the FIA World Rally Championships.
The 87th edition of the race had a new-look format that placed more of an emphasis on the opening stages in Gap, in the Hautes-Alpes department of France. Two new 20km evening stages, La Bréole / Selonnet and Avançon / Notre-Dame-du-Laus were added to the schedule, and the classic Curbans / Piégut route was reintroduced. The rally was more than 70km shorter than the 2018 edition.
In the past, the Monte Carlo Rally has started at Monaco’s iconic Casino Square and it is likely to return there next year.
The departure in Gap was shown on a big screen next to Monaco’s biggest harbour, Port Hercules, where some of the Principality’s liveliest bars and restaurants are located. A live screening of the first special, Bréole / Selonnet followed.
The cars arrived in the harbour late on Saturday evening, before driving into the mountains and finishing back in the harbour on Sunday.
Monte Carlo Rally
The Monte Carlo Rally was established by Albert I, Prince of Monaco, in 1911. The inaugural event featured cars departing from different locations across Europe, with the goal of arriving in Monte Carlo first. Since its inception, the Monte Carlo Rally has evolved into a staple of the motorsport calendar and a must-see for rally fans worldwide. The race is set against stunning mountainous and coastal backdrops, and offers one of the toughest challenges that rally drivers face in the championship.
The Monte Carlo Rally is an enthralling visual spectacle that some motorsport fans combine with the experience of arriving in Monaco by helicopter. Helicopter flights to Monaco are the fastest way to arrive in the Principality and offer stunning views over the French Riviera coastline.
The second race of the FIA World Rally Championships will take place in Sweden from 14 to 17 February. Races will take place in 10 other countries before the final event in Australia from 14 to 17 November.