For a second-consecutive year, the rally’s base remains in the Principality with the service area located alongside Monaco’s picturesque harbour.
The season kicks off in style on Thursday evening when, following a ceremonial start in the famous Casino Square, crews head into darkness to tackle two special stages totalling 40.93km around the atmospheric Col de Turini in the Alpes-Maritimes mountains.
La Bollène-Vésubie / Col de Turini (15.52km) opens proceedings and is followed by La Cabanette / Col de Castillo, which is the longest test of the rally at 25.41km.
For the first time in the event's history, the latter takes in five passes in a row: Col de l'Orme (1000m), Col de l'Ablé (1149m), Col de Braus (1002m), Col Saint-Jean (642m) and Col de Castillon (706m).
Friday heads further north for double runs of three stages which are punctuated by a mid-leg tyre-fitting zone in Puget-Théniers. First up is Roure / Beuil (18.33km) in the Mercantour National Park, with Puget-Théniers / Saint-Antonin (20.06km) and Briançonnet / Entrevaux (14.70km) rounding out both loops.
Saturday serves up more fast-paced action with five stages totalling 98.43km. Malijai / Puimichel (17.47km) runs in the same format as in 2020 and precedes Saint-Geniez / Thoard (20.79km). Both are repeated after a tyre-fitting zone at Digneles-Bains before a nighttime pass of Ubraye / Entrevaux (21.91km) leads crews into the final service.
Sunday’s finale takes place to the north-east of Alpes-Maritimes, with Lucéram / Lantosque (18.97km) and La Bollène-Vésubie / Col de Turini (15.52km) - a repeat of Thursday’s opener - driven twice without service. The second pass of the latter forms the Wolf Power Stage with bonus points available.
The survivors return to Monaco for the Casino Square champagne celebrations on Sunday afternoon after 17 stages covering 314.52km.