Monte Carlo Rally - 2014

Seventy two cars are set to take part in the 82nd Monte Carlo Rally with reigning WRC champion Sebastien Ogier and Volkswagen carrying number one on their Polo WRC with Jullen Ingrassia co-driving. They are followed by VW teammates Jari-Matti Latvala & Miikka Anttila's Polo. Kris Meeke makes his Citroen team debut in the DS3 WRC co-driven by Paul Nagle with Mads Ostberg / Jonas Anderson in another DS3, car 4.

M-Sport returnee Mikko Hirvonen runs at 5 with Jarma Lehtinen in the first of the Ford Fiesta WRC cars and his Welsh teammate Elfyn Evans / Daniel Barrett in another Fiesta at number 6. Hyundai's two-car team makes its first appearance in the WRC class with Thiery Neuville and Dani Sordo running at 7 & 8.

Among the 14 cars entered in the WRC class, ex F1 driver Robert Kubica is worth watching in another M-Sport Fiesta at 10 as is that wily old French fox Francois Delecourt at 12 in another Fiesta.

The 3 day recce has been completed today and on Wednesday 15th, competitors will take part in a shakedown stage; a 3.52 km road near the small town of Chateauvieux, located 6 kilometers south of Gap which will be fairly representative of the conditions prevailing throughout the whole route and at this time of the year the High Alpine climate is severe, drier and generally colder than anywhere.

The rally proper will start on Thursday, January 16 with a first loop of three special stages: Orpierre - Saint André de Rosans (25.49 km), Rosans - Sainte Marie - La Charce (17.98 km) and Montauban sur l'Ouvèze - Col du Perty - Laborel (19.34 km). Competitors will run the same loop, once again in the afternoon after a stop, at mid-day, at the Service Park located near Gap's nautical stadium.

Friday, January 17, will begin with two classic stages of the Rallye Monte-Carlo: Vitrolles - Col D'Espreaux - Faye (49.03 km) and Selonnet - Col des Garcinets - Breziers (22.68 km). Ten years ago the road conditions on these stages were extreme!

At mid-day, the competitors will return to the Service Park before the challenges of another pass through Vitrolles - Col D'Espreaux - Faye (49.03 km), Sisteron - Col de Fontbelle - Thoard (36.85 km) and finally Clumanc - Col du Défend - Lambruisse (20,77 km) by night, before heading south for a well-earned rest in Monaco.

The final leg, on Saturday, January 18, will see competitors complete two loops of two stages, one by day and the other by night. The program for this final stage is: La Bollène Vésubie - Col de Turini - Moulinet (23.40 km) and the unprecedented Sospel - Col de Brouis - Breil sur Roya (16.55 km).

The 82nd Rallye Monte Carlo will end on Sunday, January 19 with the traditional awards ceremony on the square of the Prince's Palace in Monaco.

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13th January, 2014