Monte-Carlo Rally 2022: Who are the favourites?
The famous Monaco rally will kick off this Thursday starting at 6:45 p.m. from Place du Casino, and the race appears more open than ever this year. Let’s take a look at the favourites.
Sébastien Ogier (Toyota Yaris)
Having just retired from rallies, the reigning world champion is already back at the wheel of the Toyota Yaris in which he won the title twice (2020, 2021), for another crack at “his” Monte Carlo. Having won here eight times, Ogier is the undisputed supremo of the event and obviously considered among the favourites to win.
In a mixed programme this season, he will share the wheel with Esapekka Lappi in the different championship events. There is absolutely no pressure on Sébastien Ogier, other than his own desire to add some more prestigious silverware to his already impressive trophy cabinet. And that could happen right away with this first round of the championship, in a rally that he knows by heart and that he particularly enjoys. But one detail needs to be taken into account. This year, 95% of the course has been changed. Could this unsettle the eight-time world rally champion and change his odds?
SEE ALSO: Sébastien Ogier (Toyota)breaks record with 8th time Monte-Carlo rally win
Sébastien Loeb (Ford Puma)
Like Ogier, this rally legend has also signed a contract for a few races this season. And his schedule obviously begins here, at Monte-Carlo. As a seven-time winner of the rally, Sébastien Loeb is still a contender, even though his top speed is no longer what it was at the start of his career.
Back from the Dakar race, where he finished second behind the unassailable Nasser al-Attiyah, the Alsace driver hasn’t had much time to get back into a rallying mindset. He will also have to fine-tune the final details with Isabelle Galmiche, his new co-pilot, with whom he will be competing in his first official race. If all goes well, then the nine-time world champion could taste victory again.
Thierry Neuville (Hyundai i20)
It’s simple. He is the only one to have interrupted the Loeb-Ogier duo’s reign in Monte-Carlo over the last decade. A resident of Monaco, the Belgian driver seems to be at a turning point in his career. With Sébastien Ogier’s retirement from full-time racing, Thierry Neuville appears to be the favourite for the title he has been chasing for several seasons. A victory at Monte-Carlo could put him on the right track at the start of what is his ninth season with the Korean team.
Elfyn Evans (Toyota Yaris)
Catapulted into the position of number 1 driver for the Japanese team after Sébastien Ogier’s retirement, the Welshman knows people will be watching him closely. Second in the rally last year, third in 2020, Elfyn Evans isn’t a stranger to the Monte-Carlo podium. Now he’s just missing the top step. In the world champion car, Ogier’s teammate has what it takes to shine.
Kalle Rovanperä (Toyota Yaris)
The young WRC star is destined to be world champion one day, and is already starting his third full season with Toyota. At 21, the Finn is ready to go for gold in every rally and on all types of terrain, winning two legs last season, in Estonia and Greece. A little more snow on the course would have suited him, but this year, the conditions promise to be extremely dry.
Not forgetting: Ott Tänak (Hyundai i20) Adrien Fourmaux (Ford Puma), Craig Breen (Ford Puma)
SEE ALSO: Ogier, Loeb, Mäkinen, Röhrl, Sainz… the race to make history once again