Nine-time world champion, Sebastien Loeb, and his faithful co-driver Daniel Elena are returning to the 2019 Monte Carlo Rally, which will be held from January 24th to 27th. For this 87th edition of this historic race, the co-pilots will be at the wheel of a Hyundai, who the team has signed on with for six World Championship events.
At 44 years-old, Sebastien Loeb will make his big comeback to the world of rally racing at the 87th edition of the Monte-Carlo Rally. The comeback announcement follows his participation in last year’s Catalonia Rally and is accompanied by a change of team. Led by Monegasque Michel Nandan, Hyundai Motorsports has signed a two-year contract with Loeb and Elena, including six WRC championship events this season. After Gap (departure point of the 2019 Monte-Carlo Rally edition), the tandem will head to Corsica for the Tour de Corse in March and then take on the Chile Rally in May.
The rally, the challenge
The official start of the 87th Monte-Carlo Rally is scheduled for Thursday, January 24th at 7:17 pm and drivers will leave from Gap’s Place Desmichels. During this first nocturnal leg, there will be two unprecedented special stages totaling 41.35 kilometers. These two specials, “La Bréole/ Selonnet” (SS 1 – 20.76 km – 20:08) and “Avançon / Notre-Dame-du-Laus” (SS 2 – 20.59 km – 21:11), will pass through the Alpes-de-Haute-Provence and of Hautes-Alpes departments. The challenge ought to separate the cream of the crop from the rest of the competition’s pilots.
The next two days will take drivers to the South West, North East, and North West of Gap before the race leads them back to the Principality. The final leg on Sunday is identical to the challenging 2018 edition with timed sectors “La Bollène-Vésubie / Peïra-Cava” (SS 13/15 – 18.41 km – 08:20 / 10:55) and“La Cabanette / Col de Braus” (SS 14/16 – 13.58 km – 09:08 / 12:18), which will be used as a Power Stage at the end of the second loop.
New race, new level
The first race of the season, the 2019 Monte Carlo Rally will undoubtedly be one of the toughest competitions of the year. In addition to Loeb in the Hyundai i20 coupe, we note the participation of Sebastien Ogier, who is back with Citroen after a 7-year stint with Volkswagen and Ford. The six-time world champion and winner of the 2018 Monaco race will come up against some of his favorite competitions in Thierry Neuville (Hyundai) and Ott Tänak( Toyota). The event promises to raise the level of driving on the WRC and the hairs on your neck.