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Fri 22 Jul 2022

Turini treble headlines new-look Monte

The famous Col de Turini will bookend next season’s Rallye Monte-Carlo (19 - 22 January) in a more compact route which features significant changes.

One of the FIA World Rally Championship’s most iconic locations will launch the new season on Thursday night in darkness before being driven twice in Sunday’s final leg. The second pass on the final day will form the bonus-points paying Wolf Power Stage.

After a successful facelift this year, organiser Automobile Club de Monaco announced on Friday that the rally will keep its Monaco harbourside hub for the entire event, while 50 per cent of the route will be different compared to 2022.

This year’s fixture was based in the Principality for the first time since 2006 as Valence and then Gap previously hosted the event, before it journeyed south for the final day’s competition in the mountains above Monaco.

Thursday evening’s glamorous start ceremony in the sumptuous surroundings of Casino Square leads directly into two night tests.

The opening 15.52km La Bollène-Vésubie / Col de Turini is tackled in a brand-new format, starting for the first time from Camp de Millo.

It is followed by the pacy La Cabanette / Col de Castillon. The 25.41km stage allows drivers to crest five mountain passes in a row for the first time in the rally’s 91 editions – Col de l'Orme, Col de l'Ablé, Col de Braus, Col Saint-Jean and Col de Castillon (706m).

Friday’s second leg send competitors further north for 106.18km against the clock in two loops of three tests, separated by a tyre change in Puget-Théniers.

Roure / Beuil (18.33km), at the foot of the Mercantour National Park, climbs the Col de la Couillole before crews face Puget-Théniers / Saint-Antonin (20.06km) and Briançonnet / Entrevaux (14.70km). The latter moves forward a couple of days having been driven as the Wolf Power Stage in January’s edition.

The route heads even further north on Saturday into the Alpes-de-Haute-Provence. Malijai / Puimichel (17.47km) is followed by Saint-Geniez / Thoard (20.79km), a shortened version of the daunting Sisteron stage which features the demanding Col de Fontbelle, opened from its winter slumbers especially for the rally.

A tyre change and regroup in Digne-les-Bains precedes a repeat loop before the day-ending Ubraye / Entrevaux (21.91km) in darkness.

Sunday’s finale features two well-known stages, which will be driven twice by all surviving crews rather than being limited to the top 50 competitors in the standings as in previous years.

A long version of Lucéram / Lantosque (18.97km) leads into a return to the Col de Turini, after which crews descend from the mountains to Monaco for the afternoon’s finish ceremony in Casino Square after the second pass.

The 17 stages cover 314.52km in a total route of just over 1500km.

None of the four days will feature a mid-leg service, adding to the difficulties likely to be encountered due to the weather in the mountains of the French Alps in late January.

Video: Rallye Monte-Carlo 2022 best of action