The inaugural round of the 2023 World Rally Championship, the Monte Carlo Rally, is quickly approaching.
The silly season is done, the drivers who have gone to new endeavours have had some time to settle in, and we are ready to find out who will be the fastest out of the blocks when the action begins on Thursday evening.
But who is competing in which division?
Here’s everything you need to know about this year’s Monte Carlo Rally:
Entry breakdown WRC Rallye Monte Carlo 2023:
Total 75 crews
10 Priority 1 crew
41 Priority 2 crews (27 WRC2)
How to watch WRC Rallye Monte Carlo 2023 Free:
Viewers around the world can watch the action live on the following channels and here for free:
Live Broadcast: WRC Rallye Monte Carlo 2023 Live (it’s free)
TV schedule WRC Rallye Monte Carlo 2023:
WRC Rallye Monte Carlo 2023 full tv schedule is found here.
Rally Route: WRC Rallye Monte Carlo 2023:
The Alpes-Maritimes will host the final on Sunday. The classic Luceram / Lantosque (18.82km) starts the race, followed by a re-run of La Bollène-Vésubie / Col de Turini, which crews will have driven in anger on Thursday evening.
Both stages are replayed, with the latter comprising the Wolf Power Stage, which offers bonus points. The final four tests total 67.88km.
After 18 stages lasting 325.02km, the survivors return to Monaco on Sunday afternoon for the Casino Square champagne party.
Monte Carlo will be the first opportunity for Rally1 drivers to compete for new teams, with Ott Tänak heading the push for M-Sport and Esapekka Lappi making his debut in the Hyundai i20 N Rally1.
Toyota has four cars entered, with incumbent champion Kalle Rovanperä leading the team and Sébastien Ogier driving for the factory squad in what will be his eighth WRC season.
Elfyn Evans and Takamoto Katsuta will drive the other GR Yaris Rally1s.
Hyundai has a three-car entry, with regular drivers Thierry Neuville, Lappi, and Dani Sordo kicking off the season in the third car, meaning new acquisition Craig Breen will have to wait a little longer to make his second appearance with the team.
M-Sport will have fewer participants in 2023 than it did in 2022. Gus Greensmith, Adrien Fourmaux, and Breen are gone, but Tänak and Pierre-Louis Loubet have replaced them. Jourdan Serderidis, a privateer, will also compete in a third car for the Dovenby Hall-based outfit.
It’s one of the fascinating WRC2 entry lists in a long time, and two of the drivers competing this year were Rally1 racers in 2022.
Adrien Fourmaux and Oliver Solberg are those two people, and they will both be battling for overall triumph as they try to resurrect their careers after being dropped from Rally1 machinery in the middle of 2022. On the other hand, Solberg has not named WRC2 as one of his WRC2 points-scoring rounds.
The defending WRC2 champion, Emil Lindholm, will be absent from Monte Carlo. Still, French drivers Yohan Rossel and Stéphane Lefebvre, both driving Citroen C3 Rally2, will provide plenty of challenge for Fourmaux and Solberg.
Chris Ingram begins his WRC2 season on Monte in the Skoda Fabia Rally2 evo, while Sami Pajari drives for Toksport in the new Fabia RS Rally2.
This year’s Monte Carlo route differs slightly from last year’s event in that, in addition to numerous new stages, there will be one extra stage, bringing the total number of stages to 18, spread across 201 competitive miles.
The action begins on Thursday night with the La Bollène-Vésubie/Col de Turini superspecial, followed by the challenging La Cabanette/Col de Castillon stage, the rally’s longest test.
Friday will pass through the Alps before turning north to begin Saturday’s stages.
The last leg, which takes the crews back into the mountains, consists of four stages, with the La Bollène-Vésubie/Col de Turini power stage completing up the event.