WRC: No plans to alter Monte Carlo Rally route after lack of snow

The World Rally Championship has no plans to make changes to the Rally Monte Carlo route in the near future despite an absence of snow and ice last weekend.  

WRC: No plans to alter Monte Carlo Rally route after lack of snow

An unusual lack of wintry conditions transformed the WRC season opener into a flat out dry asphalt sprint, which led to several calls from drivers to move the rally further north to guarantee the traditional snow and icy stages of the past.

This was the second year the rally has been largely devoid of snow. Only the Sisteron stage in 2022 was affected by snow and ice, and for this year that stage was removed from the schedule. 

PLUS: How fired-up Ogier became the WRC's ultimate Monte master

The much drier conditions has coincided with the decision of the rally organiser Automobile Club de Monaco to move the event’s service park from the Alpine town of Gap in the north to the Monte Carlo harbour, for the 90th running of the rally last year.

After claiming a ninth Monte Carlo win, Sebastien Ogier is keen for the rally to move further north to provide an added challenge.

“Unfortunately when you do the rally mainly in the south like we have done since last year there is a big chance that this can happen [there being no snow and ice]," said Ogier.

“Global warming is there, unfortunately we know that. I don’t really want to say this because I come from there but I think we all missed Gap and not just there but around there, there is the potential for some great stages. 

“I heard that maybe there is chance it could come back there. I’m sure it would add some more excitement with this rally and I’m sure the fans would like to see us battling the conditions and battling with tyre choices.”

Hyundai’s Thierry Neuville agrees with Ogier and would even entertain driving longer road sections if organisers wish to keep the service park on the Monaco harbour front. 

Visual from 2022 Rally Monte Carlo

Visual from 2022 Rally Monte Carlo

Photo by: Red Bull Content Pool

“It can still be Monaco but we need to have the stages more in the north,” he said. “Monte Carlo without snow is not the same.”

Recently, Rally Sweden organisers elected to move its rally from its traditional Karlstad home 800 kilometres north to Umea for the 2022 edition to ensure the event could guarantee wintry conditions.

However, WRC event director Simon Larkin told Autosport that the championship’s doesn’t have any plans to return to Gap or alter the route, describing this year’s unseasonably dry conditions as an “anomaly”.

“The reason we are back in Monaco is that everyone wanted to be back in Monaco and we are delighted to be back in the heart of the country that hosts us,” Larkin said.

“It creates a good atmosphere for everyone. The only reason we would move out of Monaco is the never ending cycle of construction in this harbour area. 

“We are on the limit on how many competitors we can have in this area, and the rally was limited, and was well over subscribed, but that is the compromise we have to make.

“If and when something comes up that could cost us a couple of hundred square metres then it puts on the limit of bringing here for a year, but we will see. 

“WRC Promoter and the ACM are determined to be here in Monaco with the service park, and even if that means compromising the amount of space for the teams, then that is a decision we are willing to take.”

Read Also:

When asked if changes to the route were being considered, he added: “No, I think anyone who skis knows there are entire ski resorts without any snow. The entire ski season has been a disaster up until now. I know there is some snow falling now. 

“I think this year is a bit of an anomaly and very, very unusual. We can see how cold it was even on Thursday and it was cold at night, but the fact there hasn’t been snow is just that.”

UPDATE: In the hours following the publication of this story Gap’s Mayor Roger Didier announced that the rally would return to the town next year contradicting the statement made by the WRC.   

"This is obviously an immense satisfaction for our municipality," said Roger Didier, Mayor of Gap. "We thank the Automobile Club de Monaco for its renewed confidence in us, especially Guy de Alexandris (Commissioner General of the Automobile Club de Monaco, ed.)."

"The excellent work we have done over the years has been recognised. We can enjoy a perfect environment for some wonderful special stages, but also a great rally culture that is part of our territory".

shares
comments

Related video

Monte Carlo winner Ogier to make WRC return in Mexico
Previous article

Monte Carlo winner Ogier to make WRC return in Mexico

Next article

Rally USA a potential contender to join WRC in 2024

Rally USA a potential contender to join WRC in 2024
Why Monte Carlo success could spark another past master’s WRC revival Plus

Why Monte Carlo success could spark another past master’s WRC revival

Some 39 years on from his Monte Carlo Rally debut, World Rally Championship legend Francois Delecour continues to pick up silverware. Proving that age is purely a number, the 60-year-old's desire to compete against the WRC’s latest young talents could be the start of a new chapter in the Frenchman’s storied career

WRC
Jan 31, 2023
How fired-up Ogier became the WRC's ultimate Monte master Plus

How fired-up Ogier became the WRC's ultimate Monte master

He may only be contesting a part-time campaign in the World Rally Championship these days, but Sebastien Ogier underlined that he's lost none of his speed in the 2023 season opener. Storming to yet another victory on the Monte Carlo Rally, the eight-time world champion rewrote the history books again as Toyota served notice of its intentions with a crushing 1-2

WRC
Jan 23, 2023
How Lancia pulled off its famous Monte Carlo giantkilling Plus

How Lancia pulled off its famous Monte Carlo giantkilling

Audi should have been invincible in the snowy conditions that typically greeted the World Rally Championship paddock in Monte Carlo. But unexpectedly warm weather for the 1983 season opener, combined with some left-field thinking from the Lancia crew turned the tables. Forty years on, team boss Cesare Fiorio reflects on a smash and grab

WRC
Jan 21, 2023
Why M-Sport has pinned all its efforts on a WRC reunion Plus

Why M-Sport has pinned all its efforts on a WRC reunion

M-Sport had a disastrous 2022 with its Rally1 Ford Pumas following Sebastien Loeb’s first-time-out win on the Monte. But now things are looking up with 2019 world champion Ott Tanak leading its attack, and the Cumbrian operation has optimism that it can challenge for a first title since Sebastien Ogier's departure at the end of 2018

WRC
Jan 19, 2023
The contenders seeking to take Rovanpera's WRC crown Plus

The contenders seeking to take Rovanpera's WRC crown

As Kalle Rovanpera begins his World Rally Championship title defence in Monte Carlo, the Finn knows he has a target on his back. But who is best placed to knock the Toyota ace off his perch?

WRC
Jan 19, 2023
Why Rovanpera is anticipating a fight to defend his WRC title Plus

Why Rovanpera is anticipating a fight to defend his WRC title

Question: what could be harder than becoming the youngest-ever World Rally champion? Answer: becoming the youngest-ever two-time World Rally champion. That's quite the challenge facing Toyota's Kalle Rovanpera in 2022, particularly against rejuvenated opposition in the second year of the WRC's hybrid regulations

WRC
Jan 18, 2023
From F1 to WRC: Why Hyundai's new boss could be an inspired signing Plus

From F1 to WRC: Why Hyundai's new boss could be an inspired signing

OPINION: New Hyundai WRC team boss Cyril Abiteboul admits he’s got a lot to learn as he leads the marque's efforts to dethrone Toyota. But could his Formula 1 experience and evident strengths mean he turns out to be an inspired choice?

WRC
Jan 18, 2023
The ultimate rally car project the WRC is glad COVID killed Plus

The ultimate rally car project the WRC is glad COVID killed

Toyota was unstoppable in the 2021 World Rally Championship, with an excellent 75% strike rate from 12 rallies. But in a scary proposition for its rivals, the Japanese marque had built a car for the final year of the previous regulations set which it believes was much faster and could feasibly have crushed the opposition completely. Here the story of its mothballed world-beater

WRC
Jan 1, 2023