Tuesday | 20 Jan 2015

Monte countdown: The stages

Rallye Monte-Carlo (22 - 25 January) kick-starts the 2015 FIA World Rally Championship into action with plenty of exciting innovations to test the world’s finest drivers.

Seventy-five percent of the route is new, the action is spread over four days rather than three and the final day’s late-night blast through the mountains high above Monaco will now be a daylight affair.

The changes promise to add extra excitement to the most prestigious event in the calendar and one which basks in the glitz and glamour of Monte-Carlo, from where the rally begins on Thursday evening outside the famous Casino.

But it is the inhospitable Alpine roads where the drivers will do battle, and two stages in darkness near Digne-les-Bains punctuate the long drive north to Gap, which hosts the rally initially.

Three new stages in the Hautes Alpes and Isère regions to the north are driven twice on Friday to form the longest leg.

Col de Turini - highlight of the final day

After two Saturday morning tests near Gap, including the marathon 51.70km journey from Lardier et Valença to Faye, competitors return to Monaco via the classic roads from Sisteron to Thoard.

Sunday’s final leg, as is traditional, is in the Alpes Maritimes mountains above Monaco and features the legendary crossing of the Col de Turini. It’s one of the WRC’s great locations and huge crowds will line the roads to watch the cars cross the summit.

Turini sandwiches two passes through the Col St Jean - St Laurent test, the second of which forms the live TV Power Stage with bonus points to the fastest three drivers.

Then it’s back into Monaco for Sunday afternoon’s finish outside the Palace, with monarch Prince Albert presenting the prizes.

There are 15 stages covering 355.48km in a total route of 1403.08km.

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