Fri 13 Jan 2023

Rally Rewind: Monte-Carlo 2022

The FIA World Rally Championship swings back into action at Rallye Monte-Carlo next Thursday (19 – 22 January). But before we launch into rally week, let’s look back on the headlines from last year’s edition of this classic event.

1: WRC goes hybrid
The curtain rose on a groundbreaking new FIA World Rally Championship era as hybrid-powered Rally1 cars launched the series into an exciting future, with eEnergy regeneration from the plug-in hybrid system, a 100 per cent renewable fuel and sustainable energy supplies forming a key part of the WRC’s commitment to a greener outlook.

Rally Monte-Carlo, the oldest event in the WRC calendar, provided a fitting debut for the WRC's 50th anniversary season and for the new cars, which blend a 100kW electric motor with a 1.6-litre turbocharged engine offering upwards of 500hp.

2: Loeb triumphant in battle royale
Sébastien Loeb became the oldest winner of an FIA World Rally Championship round after grabbing a remarkable victory from under the nose of old foe Sébastien Ogier late in the event.

The 47-year-old Frenchman trailed Ogier by almost half a minute heading into the penultimate stage of the four-day fixture. But when Ogier limped to the finish with a front left puncture, Loeb reclaimed a lead he had conceded to his compatriot on Saturday. In true Loeb fashion, he stayed calm through the final test to seal his eighth Monte-Carlo success in a Ford Puma by 10.5sec.

The nine-time world champion, starting his first WRC event for more than a year, was competing for the British M-Sport Ford squad in a one-off appearance. He joined Ogier at the top of the Monte-Carlo roll of honour with eight wins apiece.

3: Neuville and Hyundai left frustrated
Hyundai Motorsport endured a difficult season opener as only one of its three i20 N cars made it to the finish. Ott Tänak's engine boiled over when the Estonian nudged a bank and Oliver Solberg withdrew after complaining of smoke entering his cockpit.

Thierry Neuville did complete the rally, although he departed the principality upset with sixth place and a performance he felt was at odds with the effort put in by the whole team.

While the Belgian did manage a stage win on the first run at Sunday’s Briançonnet-Entrevaux test, things had already gone downhill one day prior when a front-right suspension problem hampered his times and dropped him down the order.

4: Rovanperä’s turnaround
Assessing his performance after two stages on Thursday evening, Kalle Rovanperä looked anything but comfortable.

“I think the balance of the car is really tricky for me to drive,” Rovanperä said of his Toyota GR Yaris after dropping more than one minute across the short loop.

However, things soon began to look up for the would-be world champion. Having ended the opening pair of stages way down in 12th overall, he climbed to ninth on Friday and, by Saturday, was setting stage-winning times.

Ending with fourth place on Sunday afternoon, perhaps the Finn hadn’t made such a bad start after all.

5: Masterful Mikkelsen
Andreas Mikkelsen made a dream start to his WRC2 title defence by winning the support category aboard his Toksport Škoda Fabia Rally2 Evo - but it wasn't all plain-sailing for the Norwegian driver.

His rally very nearly unravelled at Saint-Geniez / Thoard on Saturday evening when a front-right puncture put his lead in jeopardy,

Hours of practice suddenly came in handy as Mikkelsen and debuting co-driver Torstein Eriksen made a speedy swap, retaining a healthy advantage which they carried through Sunday’s final leg. Their winning margin at the finish in Monaco was 55.4sec.

  • Full coverage from Rallye Monte-Carlo will be available on WRC+ All Live here, including every stage broadcast as it happens as well as key interviews, features and expert analysis from the service park.
Latvia
Starts: Thursday, July 18, 2024 at 4:31:00 AM
Italy
Starts: Friday, July 26, 2024 at 7:00:00 AM
Hungary
Starts: Saturday, July 27, 2024 at 6:00:00 AM