With just two weeks to go before the start of the recce for the 92nd Rallye Automobile Monte-Carlo, the Organising Committee revealed this Monday the Official Entry List of the 70 competitors who will be allowed to take part in the opening round of the 2024 FIA World Rally Championship (WRC).
Against all expectations, the record holder, Sébastien Ogier, is back to defend his title. 9-times winner of the Rallye Monte-Carlo, the native of Gap will be competing in his home territory at the wheel of the Toyota Yaris Rally1 Hybrid.
The battle for victory is announced to be as indecisive as it is intense, with his team-mate Elfyn Evans of the Toyota Gazoo Racing team as the main opponent at the start, as well as the Hyundai Shell Mobis WRT drivers Ott Tanäk (2019 World Champion) and Thierry Neuville (2020 Winner).
The suspense is also there in the other categories, starting with WRC2. Some of the headliners include Yohan Rossel, Nikolay Gryazin, Oliver Solberg, Nicolas Ciamin, Stéphane Lefebvre and Bryan Bouffier, who won the Monte in 2011 and is making his comeback to the world circuit for the occasion.
In total, there were 8 cars in the top category representing the 3 Official Manufacturers, 24 in WRC2, 3 in WRC3 and 35 non-priority competitors (RGT & amateurs) where the Selection Committee had to make crucial choices. “We registered 112 applications, and 93 of them met the criteria set out in our Supplementary Regulations. Unfortunately, we had to reject 23 of them,” says Eric BARRABINO, General Commissioner of the Automobile Club de Monaco and Director of the Rallye Monte-Carlo, with some regret. “As an organiser, having to turn down participants is not something you do easily, believe us! I won’t get into the details of the real puzzle that the selection represents, but a multitude of criteria have been considered to ensure that, in the end, some twenty regional drivers will be able to take part against an international elite. Right now, you are bound to be making some people happy… and, unfortunately, some unhappy! Our dearest wish is now to be able to find, in the long term, an area of more than 30,000 m2 to increase the capacity of the Service Park and give us the possibility to accept all entries, both professional and amateur…“.