With 14 passes on the way, in 17 special stages spread over 5 French departments, the route for this inaugural event of the 2024 FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) has moved up in latitude as well as altitude, following a strong wish of the Organizing Committee at Automobile Club de Monaco (ACM), hoping for more snow on the roads than in previous editions.
After two and a half strenuous days of recce, from Monday January 22 to Wednesday January 24, all crews allowed to start will operate in real racing conditions from 4:01 pm that Wednesday, during the Shakedown (3.35km). On the same road portion that was introduced in 2017, Route de la Garde in Gap, a partner city which already played host to the rally from 2014 to 2021.
The official start of this 92nd edition of Monte-Carlo Rally will be given the next day, Thursday January 25 at 4:52pm on Casino Square in Monaco. On the menu of the 1st Leg, two timed stages in total darkness for a total of 46.01km, in the departments of Alpes-de-Haute-Provence and Hautes-Alpes. These two legendary stages, « Thoard / Saint-Geniez » (SS1 – 20.82km – 8:35 pm) and « Bayons / Bréziers » (SS2 – 25.19km – 9:58 pm) will serve as reality checks for the expected major players in the championship.
On Friday January 26, crews will be heading for the East of Gap, where the 2nd Leg will be spread over two departments (Alpes-de-Haute-Provence and Hautes-Alpes) for a total of 106.10 timed kilometers. With a loop of three special stages to cover twice, made of « Saint-Léger-les-Mélèzes / La Bâtie-Neuve » (SS3/6 – 16.87km – 9:06 am/2:53 pm), followed by « Champcella / Saint-Clément-sur-Durance » (SS4/7 – 17.87km – 10:34 am/4:21 pm) and « La Bréole / Selonnet » (SS5/8 – 18.31km – 12:02 pm/5:49 pm), setting up a very intense race day!
The West of Gap will be on the cards for Saturday January 27 when the 3rd Leg covers three departments (Hautes-Alpes, Drôme, Isère) for a total of 134.86 timed kilometers. Again, with a loop of three stages not so close to each other, to complete twice, for what will probably be the toughest race day of the week. On the menu, « Sigottier / Valdrôme » (SS9/12 – 20.89km – 8:35 am/2:05 pm), followed by « Les Nonières / Chichilianne » (SS10/13 – 20.08km – 9:53 am/3:23 pm) and « Pellafol / Agnières-en-Dévoluy » (SS11/14 – 26.46km – 11:06 am/4:36 pm). There will certainly be several ups and downs during this strenuous 3rd Leg.
In order to conclude the event in style, on Sunday January 28, three stages totalling 51.65 kilometers will be scheduled between Gap and Monaco. This will be a brand new feature for a Final Leg and the last fights for honours will happen on « La Bréole / Selonnet » (SS15 – 18.31km – 7:04 am), followed by « Digne-les-Bains / Chaudon-Norante » (SS16 – 19.04km – 8:35 am) and, last but not least, « La Bollène-Vésubie / Col de Turini » (SS17 – 14.30km – 12:15 pm) which will serve as Power Stage. The Prize Ceremony will then take place, as usual, on Casino Square, from 4:15 pm…
Timings and stage lengths are indicative until official publication of the Rally Route.