Beautiful beaches, lavish boats in the marina, million dollar apartments, and……the sound of roaring engines and screeching tires?! Monte-Carlo sets the stage (no pun intended) for this weekends WRC season opener. Stage one launches on Thursday 19 January 2017 with the drivers jumping the line from Casino Square. The teams will then fight their way through two challenging stages, in the shadow of the night, in the Alps interrupting their journey up to Gap before the lights go off and the drivers get their rest.
Friday’s stages will be located just north of the town where two loops of three tests will take place. All stages taking place throughout Friday will clock in 160 km of pure unadulterated Rally Cross where each team will be scrambling to beat times set by their predecessor.
For the Monte-Carlo Rallye’s third leg of racing, drivers will be expected to endure an additional five stages near Gap. One final service will be featured before the driver’s make their journey back through, to Monaco.
After 16 stages, and three days of driving the teams will line up to race to….wait for it….the finale. The finale will take place, traditionally so, in the principality of Monaco where the sights of those marinas, boats, and apartments we were talking about will be proudly showcased. We can expect to enjoy a run in the Alpes Maritimes mountains above Monaco, and two passes over the legendary Col de Turini before final times are locked in and results are etched in stone.
While the conditions of the race are grueling enough, given the G Forces, winding roads, and bumps the driver and co-driver have to face; those are only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to adversity. The Monte-Carlo Rallye will overall be an asphalt driven race, however, unpredictable weather and terrain are not contenders to be counted out. Expect to see mismatched tyre selection as parts of teams strategies as all teams will have to account for iced roads while still compensating for dry asphalt.
Experienced driver and co-driver selections will be most important this weekend as strategy, reading, and driving conditions are thrown into the mix. Seamless communication between driver and co-driver will determine what team keeps the cleanest lines and can record the fastest times. A grand total of 17 stages and a whopping 382.65 KM will make up this weekends Rally Cross entertainment.
Changes for 2017 include the fact that 85% of the route is entirely redone compared to 2016. As previously stated the final opportunity to perform service will be on Saturday following the final stage of the evening; no team or driver will be authorized to perform any service Sunday morning.
To tune into the action check your local listings, or follow us on Instagram @_insidethesliptream and download the WRC+ App.