Last minute preparations are now in full swing for the World Rally Championship. And what more fitting place for it to start than the Principality with the 86th Monte Carlo Rally.
The International Automobile Federation (FIA) has just given its blessing for the publication of the list of the 2018 participants. And what a list it is! The Automobile Club of Monaco has furnished us with the names of the racers for the January 24 to January 28 Rally from the Principality to Gap.
Leading the 68 teams officially qualifying to start and with the designation number 1 emblazoned on his door is Sébastien Ogier, driving for Ford. Five times world champion already and undefeated since 2014 – who would bet against him winning Monte Carlo on his way to a sixth title. If it were a sure thing, of course, there wouldn’t be a race and anything can happen, in the Monte Carlo Rally in particular.
The Monte Carlo Rally has everything from the moment Sébastien Ogier will launch himself from the start in Casino Square at 5.45 pm on January 25th. Expect the toughest of races with four stages, 16 special tests around Gap and then the challenging slopes to be tackled in the high country beyond Nice.
While all eyes are on the main contest between the four manufacturers and whether Sébastien Ogier will keep up his winning pace toward yet another World Championship don’t forget some of the other incredibly talented drivers in the other categories.
Rounding out the three Ford teams from the M3 Ford Fiesta stable are the Welshman Elfyn Evans and also the Frenchman Bryan Bouffier who is a prior Winter Classic Rally Champion – the Winter Classic Rally for 2018 comprises for the moment two official races, the Monte Carlo Rally and the Tour of Corsica. Out to prove they can displace the Ford stable and turn all the predictions on their head are the Hyundai i20 stable of three racers, the Toyota Yaris trio and the Citroen stable of two, also would-be champions, eager to attack the course. Everyone believes they have a chance to win and will give their all to do it.
For Hyundai we have Thierry Neuville, Andreas Mikkelsen and Dani Sordo.
Toyota is fielding their challenge with Jari-Matti Latvala, Ott Tänak and Esapekka Lappi.
Citroen is all fired-up and ready to compete with Kris Meeke and Craig Breen.
There are three regional talents to watch including two from Nice and one from the Var namely: Vice-Champion of the World in WRC2, 2017, from Nice, Eric Camilli in the Ford Fiesta R5.
And looking at the Junior Champions; from the Var there is Jean-Baptiste Franceschi (ASA Grasse) in the Ford Fiesta R2, Junior Champion of France. From Nice, to add to the star-studded line up, is Junior Vice-Champion of the World, Nicolas Ciamin in the Abarth 124 RGT.
To check the full list of participants follow the link.
The 2018 Monte Carlo Rally, a race of endurance on treacherous, icy terrain requiring lightning reactions and nerves of steel. Remember the dates – January 24th to January 28th.
HelloMonaco will be there in Casino Square on January 25th. Don’t miss out. If you can’t be there to watch – tune in!