Tuesday | 24 Jan 2023

View from the Service Park: Rallye Monte-Carlo

Vincent Landais looked up and stared briefly at the building before him. There was an understandable double-take. That was him. That was his picture being beamed onto the front of the most famous casino in the world.

And that was eight-time world champion and eight-time Rallye Monte-Carlo winner Sébastien Ogier alongside him.

A little under 72 hours later and the boys were back in town, but this time Ogier had turned one of his eights to a nine and Landais reeked of champagne. They’d won and they’d won well: Séb’s 56th success on Vincent’s 56th WRC start. That was symmetry, but still it hadn’t sunk in.

“I don’t realise so much of what’s happened right now,” smiled Landais at the finish.

That’s the Rallye Monte-Carlo for you, it’s a dream-maker of an event.

There’s something magical in the mix of the glamour of the principality and the race through the mountains to be the first one home.

Off the start, you wind your way between the Ferraris and the beautiful people and you head for the hills and an alpine way of life which brings vin chaud and an andouillette sausage sandwich by the fire.

The contrast is stark, but it’s what makes the Monte special. Monaco is one of the most recognisable places on planet earth, the perfect place to kick start the season and the roads are some of the season’s toughest tests. There might have been less snow and ice than normal this time around, but still the spectacle was unbelievably special as we saw Ogier, Landais and their Toyota GR Yaris Rally1 leading the charge across the sunbathed mountain passes.

Monte Carlo will forever be the special one. Monte Carlo will forever be the one they all want to win.

In just four starts, Vincent Landais has ticked that box alongside the Monte’s most famous name.

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