Run this week for the 86th time, the season opening Rallye Monte-Carlo is the oldest round in the WRC calendar and also one of the longest, with action spread across four days and 17 wintry asphalt stages.
The event will run from 25-28 January from a service base in the town of Gap, which has hosted the rally for the past four years. The route is 50% different to last year's and, as usual, follows an itinerary that is unique in the WRC.
After two-and-a-half days of recce from Monday, competitors will tackle shakedown on Wednesday afternoon in Gap, before transferring south to Monaco.
Casino Square in Monte-Carlo will host the start ceremony on Thursday from 1750hrs and the crews will immediately head to two night stages in the Alpes-de-Haute-Provence region as they make their way back to Gap for the overnight halt. Thoard – Sisteron (SS1 - 36.69km) will be run in the reverse direction for the first time while Bayons – Bréziers (SS2 - 25.49km) is in the same format as 2017.
On Friday, crews will tackle 144km of stages in the Hautes-Alpes, Drôme and Alpes-de-Haute-Provence regions south of Gap. The longest day of the rally comprises two loops of the same three stages: Vitrolles – Oze (SS3/6 - 26.72km), Roussieux – Eygalayes (SS4/7 - 30.54km) and Vaumeilh – Claret (SS5/8 - 15.18km).
The action shifts north of Gap on Saturday, with stages based in the Isère and Hautes-Alpes regions. The leg begins with a double loop consisting of Agnières-en-Dévoluy – Corps (SS9/11 - 29.16km) followed by Saint-Léger-les-Mélèzes – La Bâtie-Neuve (SS10/12 - 16.87km).
Crews will then head south again and repeat Thursday's Bayons – Bréziers (SS13 – 25.49km) stage - this time in daylight - before a final visit to the service park in Gap and a long evening drive back to Monaco.
Sunday's final leg features four stages in the Alpes-Maritimes that total 63.98km and are run without a service. Drivers will twice tackle La Bollène-Vésubie - Peïra-Cava (SS14/16 - 18.41km) - which includes the iconic Col de Turini - and the all-new La Cabanette – Col de Braus (SS15/17 - 13.58km) which on the second pass will count as the rally-closing live TV Power Stage.
The event wraps up in traditional fashion when after a total distance of 388.59km the winning crews will be honoured at a prize giving ceremony in front of Monaco's Prince’s Palace from 1500hrs.
- The 2018 WRC season opening in Monaco’s Casino Square.
- Thursday night’s opening two special stages – a rare opportunity to experience the magical atmosphere, sights and sounds of WRC competition in darkness.
- Gap service park. Watch the teams work against the clock to prepare their cars for the following day’s action in Thursday, Friday and Saturday’s end-of-day 45-minute service.
- Sunday’s finish outside the Palace in Monaco, with monarch Prince Albert presenting the prizes.
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