After a three-year hiatus, the most famous rally in the world, the Rallye Monte Carlo, has returned to the WRC calendar. As it was the 80th event, the Automobile Club de Monaco, which organized the race, decided to design a route that combined memories of past years with demanding stages.
The 2012 Monte Carlo rally started on January 17 with a ceremony north of Monaco, in the city of Valence. The real action, which consisted of 430 kilometers (267 miles) spread over 18 special stages, begun three days later, on January 20.
Reigning world champion Sebastien Loeb won half the stages driving the Citroen DS3 R WRC and left Monaco with the maximum points: 25 for his number one finish, plus another three for winning the 5.16 km Power Stage which closed the event.
“It’s always a great moment to start the season like this, especially in front of so many fans”, said the Frenchman. “Full points in the first race is incredible. But Monte Carlo is my rally”, he added, since this is the sixth time he won. “For the others, we will have to see.”
The Mini team was also more than happy since Dani Sordo and his John Cooper Works WRC finished the race in second place. This was the first time a Mini was on the podium of Monte Carlo since Rauno Aaltonen’s 1967 victory.
Two names from the past returned to WRC in a spectacular way: 2003 world champion Petter Solberg brought the Ford Fiesta RS WRC in third place and tarmac rally specialist Francois Delecour, who began his racing career in the 1981 Monte Carlo rally, finished sixth in his Ford.
Meanwhile, last year’s revelation and VW Motorsport new signing Sebastien Ogier, who drove a Skoda Fabia S2000 in preparation for VW’s 2013 full championship assault with the Polo R, had a high-speed accident from which he luckily escaped unscathed.