It is the return to the road of the WRC, with the 91st edition of the Monte Carlo, the starting rally of the 51st World Championship. The 2.29 km “shakedown” (Sainte-Agnés/Peille) is scheduled for the morning (starting at 8.31 am in mainland Portugal) and, for today, the first of four days of action, only two stages are planned, La Bollène-Vésubile-Col de Turini 1 (15.12 km, at 19.05 h) and La Cabanette-Col de Castillon (24.90 km, at 20.03 h).
This year, in Monte Carlo, scoring race for the WRC (Rally1), WRC2 (Rally2) and WRC3 (Rally3), 75 participants, including 10 in the main category, with 4 Toyota, 3 Hyundai and 3 Ford in competition! The defending champion, Kalle Rovanpera, 22 years old from Finland, chose to keep the 69 in the GR Yaris Rally 1, giving up the right to participate with the 1, he has never won this rally and is among the favorites to win, alongside team partner Sébastien Ogier, 39, who has won 8 in the competition, a record he shares with Sébastien Loeb, and 8 world titles, but has only a partial program for the 2023 World Cup.
Monte Carlo runs until Sunday. In the program 1534.79 km, with the 325.02 km on the clock arranged in 18 special qualifying races (2 today, 6 tomorrow, 6 on Saturday and 4 on Sunday). The rally ends with a 3rd pass over the mythical Col de Turini, on a 15.12 km «Power Stage» which reserves bonus points for the 5 fastest riders.
In the race based in Monte Carlo, Monaco, debuts by Esapekka Lappi (ex-Toyota) in Hyundai, who «recovered» Craig Breen (ex-M Sport Ford) and has the Belgian Thierry Neuville as «spearhead» (5 runners-up in the curriculum), while the Estonian Ott Tänak, the 2019 champion, returns to M-Sport Ford, after 2 seasons at Toyota and 3 at Hyundai.
The WRC lasts until November and has 13 stages. The 5th takes place in Portugal, from the 11th to the 14th of May, again in the central and northern regions of the country.
1: Monte Carlo Rally (January 19th to 22nd)
2: Rally Sweden (9th to 12th February)
3: Rally Mexico (March 16-19)
4: Croatia Rally (April 20-23)
5: RALLI DE PORTUGAL (May 11th to 14th)
6: Rally Italy/Sardinia (June 1st to 4th)
7: Kenya/Safari Rally (June 22-25)
8: Estonian Rally (July 20-23)
9: Rally Finland (3rd to 6th August)
10: Greece/Acropolis Rally (September 7-10)
11: Rally Chile (September 28 to October 1)
12: Central Europe Rally (October 26-29)
13: Rally Japan (Nov 16-19)