The kings of the Montecarlo Rally are playing for the absolute throne in the Principality. Already ‘retired’ as full-time pilots, the two ‘sebastians’, Loeb and Ogier promise a close duel at the event that opens the season this weekend. Both have seven World Cup victories in the Monegasque event, so the start of the hybrid era promises a nice duel between the two riders with the best track record in the event and in the history of the specialty.
After several editions centralized in Gap, the most famous rally in the world returns to Monaco. The Principality will be the epicenter of the route from the start of the ‘shakedown’ on Thursday morning and the first two sections in the ‘night of Turini’ until it ends on Sunday with the podium in front of the Grimaldi Palace. The sections of the Maritime Alps will therefore be the protagonists of this 90th edition of the race, in which the forecast is for a dry floor, a pity since the factor that makes Montecarlo unique is lost: the choice of tires when the conditions of the floor are changing.
It is true that Ogier has one more victory than Loeb (just arrived from the Dakar), since he won in 2009, the year he did not score, something that will not change the ‘morbidity’ of the fight between ‘sebastians’ to break the tie for World Cup victories. A fight in which it will also be necessary to count on the contenders for the title, Elfyn Evans (who fought for victory last year until the last meter), Thierry Neuville (winner in 2019), Ott Tanak (the only driver who has interrupted the streak of 17 titles of the ‘sebastianes) and Craig Breen (new Ford team leader).
It will also be interesting see the evolution of the young Kalle Rovanpera and Oliver Solberg, Called to be the champions of the future, or the latest jewel of the French academy, Adrien Fourmaux, who surely wants to show off to his team. The only Spanish participant will be Esteban Vallín, who has gathered the necessary budget to race with a Renault Clio Rally5 raising money thanks to his other facet as a musician.