Monte Carlo Rally 2020: tougher than winter

The start of the Monte Carlo Rally will return to Casino Square as organisers announce that a quarter of the route has changed and racing fans are in for an exciting ride.

Photo: Media ACM

The Monte Carlo Rally is the first date on the 2020 calendar of the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC), and this year the Organising Committee at the Automobile Club of Monaco (ACM) has made the race more compact and even more selective.

After two and a half days of recce, from Monday 20th to Wednesday 22nd January, all competitors cleared to race will be able to test in race conditions from 4pm during the Shakedown session. This will take place on the very same portion of road used since 2017, the Route de la Garde in Gap, the partner host-city for the 7th consecutive year.

The official start of the Monte Carlo Rally is scheduled for the following day, Thursday 23rd January, on Casino Square in Monaco at 5pm. It follows complaints about Monte Carlo not being a location for the early stages of the competition. Last year’s event began in Gap instead of Monaco’s prestigious Casino Square, which had previously hosted the start since 2015.

The first nightly leg will include some interesting stages in the Alpes de Haute Provence and Hautes Alpes departments that are well known to nostalgic fans: Malijai – Puimichel and Bayons – Bréziers.

Photo: Media ACM

On Friday 24th, crews will be heading south-east and east of Gap for the second day, with 122.9km of stages spread out over the same two departments. This will be the toughest day of the rally, with two loops of the same three stages: Curbans – Venterol, the brand new Saint-Clément-sur-Durance – Freissinières, and finally Avançon / Notre-Dame-du-Laus.

On race day number three, the north-east and south-east of Gap will be on the menu with 75.38km of special stages. The loop, to be taken twice in the day, will be made during two famous tough stages: Saint-Léger-les-Mélèzes / La Bâtie-Neuve and La Bréole / Selonnet. Crews will be faced with the difficult choice of tyres, depending on the weather. Then, after a stop at the Gap-Fontreyne Service Park, at the end of the afternoon, the remaining crews will head back to the Principality of Monaco.

The rally concludes on Sunday 26th January with four stages of 64km through the steep hills of the Alpes Maritimes. Crews will race twice through La Bollène-Vésubie / Peïra-Cava and La Cabanette / Col de Braus, which will be used as a Power Stage at the end of the second loop.

At 3pm, all crews will be honoured and rewarded at the Prize Giving Ceremony on Quai Albert 1er.