by Romano Lupi
MONACO. This year the 88th Monte-Carlo Automobile Rally is going to be harder than winter!
From the 23rd to the 26th of January 2020, the 88th Rally of Monte- Carlo will be held on the legendary routes of the Côte-d’Azur hinterland, which all drivers and constructors dream to win once.
The Organizing Committee of the Automobile Club of Monaco required the route of this 88th edition of the Monte-Carlo Rally, opening round of the World Rally Championship FIA 2020 (WRC), even more compact and above all always more selective. The test has been remodelled to 25% over that of 2019, with new features and numerous difficulties … After two and a half days intensively devoted to acknowledgments from Monday, January 20th to Wednesday, January 22nd, competitors will finally race from 4:01 p.m. for the focus session (Shakedown – 3.35 km). Since 2017 this is the Route of the Guard in Gap, city partner for the 7th consecutive year.
The official start of the 88th Rally Automobile Monte-Carlo will be given the next day, Thursday, January 23rd from 5 p.m. from Quai Albert 1er in Monaco. On the program for this first on-night stage, two timed stages well known to the nostalgic fans, totalling 42.96 kilometres. Played in the departments of Alpes-de-Haute-Provence and Hautes-Alpes, the trials of “Malijai / Puimichel” (ES 1 – 17.47 km – 8:38 p.m.) and “Bayons / Bréziers” (ES 2 – 25.49 km – 10:26 p.m.) will disclose the championship’s heroes. Friday, January 24th, cars will direct to the southeast and east of Gap for the second day of the race, contested over two departments (Alpes-de-Haute-Provence and Hautes-Alpes), totalling 122.48 timelined kilometres. With a loop of three geographically distant special stages to cover twice, this day will be for the competitors the most delicate of the rally to be negotiated. So basically with “Curbans / Venterol” (ES 3/6 – 20.02 km – 8:36 / 1:54 p.m.) to go, then the new “Saint-Clément-sur-Durance / Freissinières” (ES 4/7 – 20.68 km – 9:56 / 3:14 p.m.) and finally “Avancon / Notre-Dame-du-Laus” (ES 5/8 – 20.59 km – 11:21 / 4:39 p.m.), the twists are assured to this day program. Saturday, January 25th northeast and southeast of Gap will be the third day of racing. Totalling 75,20 timed kilometres it looks just as pointed than the previous one. The loop to play twice in the same departments as the day before consists of “Saint-Léger-les-Mélèzes / La Batie-Neuve” (ES 9/11 – 16.87 km – 9:38 / 2:08 p.m.) and “La Bréole / Selonnet” (ES 10/12 – 20.73 km – 10:56 / 3:26 p.m.). Crews will particularly deal with a difficult tire choice depending on the weather of the moment. Then, after a final stop at the Gap-Fontreyne service park at the end of the afternoon, the competitors still in the race will join the Principality of Monaco in the early evening.
At the end of the event, four times rounds without assistance will be disputed Sunday, January 26th, in the hinterland of the Alpes-Maritimes, totalling 63.54 kilometres. In an identical final stage as in 2018 and 2019, crews will compete two special stages of “La Bollène-Vésubie / Peira-Cava” (ES 13/15 – 18.41 km – 8:17 / 10:55 ) and “La Cabanette / Col de Braus” (ES 14/16 – 13.36 km – 09h08 / 12h18), which will act as a Power Stage during the second pass. The award ceremony will take place on the Quai Albert 1er from 3:00 p.m., as in 2019. NB: Mileage and times given for information only until the official publication.
Not an easy task even for the 23rd Rallye Monte-Carlo Historique, which will take place from January 29th to February 5th, 2020!
Only three days after the arrival of the 88th Rally Automobile Monte-Carlo, the competitors of the 23rd Rally Monte-Carlo Historique will have to face an equally selective course. With in particular the regularity specials (SR) program that marked the great hours of an event that this year celebrates the 60th anniversary of the victory of the Mercedes 220 SE n ° 128 of the Walter Schock / Rolf Moll crew. A 2020 edition that the Organizing Committee of the Automobile Club of Monaco required even more attractive! The succession of Michel Badosa and Mogens Reidl, last winners to date on Renault 8, is now open… As usual, the Historical version is reserved for cars that participated in the Monte-Carlo Motor Rallies between 1911 and 1980. With the aim of give all competitors the possibility of honorably appearing in the classification, there will still be, in 2020, three averages to respect and keep throughout the event.
The 23rd edition will kick off on Wednesday 29th January, with the start of the first concentration spot from Athens (1715 km / 12:40 p.m.) and Glasgow (2142 km / 6:00 p.m.). Friday, January 31st will follow those of Bad Hombourg (1,257 km / 2:00 p.m.), Milan (1,069 km / 6:00 p.m.), Barcelona (958 km / 7:00 p.m.), Reims (940 km / 7:00 p.m.) and Monte-Carlo (950 km / 8:00 p.m.), with the common destination of Buis-les-Baronnies, in the heart of the Drôme Provençale. A rallying point that the first competitors will reach on Saturday, February 1st from 10:30 am. A concentration stage which will however be far from be over since the crews will have to compete in the first two regularity stages well known to specialists: “Montauban-sur-l’Ouvèze – Saint-André-de-Rosans / SR 1 / 45 km / 11:30 a.m. and “La Motte-Chalancon – Saint-Nazaire-le-Désert / SR 2/17 km / 1:10 p.m.” To close this chapter of concentration, the last time control of the day is scheduled in Crest at 3:00 p.m. , before joining the city of Drômoise, Valence, where the first competitors are expected at the Champ de Mars from 3:55 p.m. Cars will then point the Ardéchoises lands on Sunday, February 2nd at 06:30 a.m. for the Classification Stage. The morning program will be “La Croze – Antraigues-sur-Volane / SR 3/57 km / 07:50” and its traditional stop in front of the Restaurant “La Remise” dear to the Jouanny family. Another legendary moment will follow, “Burzet – Lachamp-Raphaël / SR 4/49 km / 9:55 a.m.”, in a new version, via Saint-Martial. The mid-day break is scheduled from 12.40 p.m., Place du Marché in Saint-Agrève, where a tasting of regional products always allows the whole caravan to have a good time before continuing with the loop of “Saint-Bonnet-le-Froid / SR 5/25 km / 1:05 p.m.” then “Saint-Pierre-sur-Doux – Col du Buisson / SR 6/22 km / 1:45 p.m.”.
The return to Valence (4:50 p.m.) will once again be preceded by the Plats pass control (3:35 p.m.) and the traditional popular and festive stopover at Quai Farconnet in Tournon-sur-Rhône from 4:00 p.m. Direction Vercors then, at the foot of the Ecrins park and finally Diois for the first part of the Common Stage on Monday February 3rd from 6:30 a.m. On the program for this day where crews will have to be more than resistant: “Col Gaudissart – La Cime du Mas / SR 7/18 km / 08:00 a.m.”, “Les Nonières – Chichilianne / SR 8/19 km / 09:50 a.m.”, then time control Place Roger Brachet at Mens (10:50 a.m.) before competing in the wake of “Saint-Michel-en-Beaumont – Corps / SR 9/16 km / 11:25a.m.” and finally, “La Piarre – Establet / SR 10/31 km / 1:20 p.m. “. The last stop of the day before returning to Valence (5:40 p.m.) will take place at Place du Champ de Mars in Saint-Jean-en-Royans with a time control from 4.30 p.m.
On Tuesday, February 4th the departure from Valence is scheduled at 05:30 a.m. This second part of the Common Stage will start with “Saint-Nazaire-le-Désert – La Motte-Chalancon / SR 11/21 km / 7:05 am”. Competitors still in the race will continue with “Bréziers – Selonnet / SR 12/18 km / 9:55 a.m.”. A passage control will follow Place du Tampinet in Digne-les-Bains (11:15 am) then the legendary Col de Corobin race “Etablissement Thermal – Norante / SR 13/16 km / 11:25 a.m.”. The final time check before entering the Parc Fermé in Monaco (3:15 p.m.) will take place Place Neuve in La Turbie, from 2:40 p.m. The start of the Final Stage, scheduled for the night from Tuesday 4th to Wednesday 5th February, will take place in Monaco from 9 p.m. On the menu for this last night will be the roads “Col de Braus – Lantosque / SR 14/34 km / 10:15 p.m.” and “La-Bollène-Vésubie – Sospel / SR 15/35 km / 11:35 p.m.”. The arrival is scheduled at the Port Hercule in Monaco around 01:30 a.m.. Finally, according to tradition, the Gala and Prize Giving Evening will take place on Wednesday, February 5th in the evening, in the Salle des Etoiles of the Monte-Carlo Sporting Club. (Formal attire or dark dress required). NB: Mileage and times given for information only until official publication.