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© DR

Since 1911, the Rallye Monte-Carlo has made its way over the steep Alpine passes during winter, heading for the sea and the Principality.

The rally was initially created to attract the European jet set to Monte-Carlo.

Each vehicle taking part would set off with a team from the city in which they had entered the race. The route linking the city with Monte-Carlo, which followed a precise itinerary and was subject to certain constraints, constituted the challenge.

At that time, crossing Europe in the middle of winter was a feat in itself. In addition, to win the competitors had to stick to an average schedule set by the organisers.

From the different departure cities in all four corners of Europe, the vehicles then converged on a single location in order to rally in Monaco. It was this feature that established the Rallye Monte-Carlo’s reputation until the mid-1990s.

Today, the race crosses the South of France, through the Alpes-Maritimes, Ardèche, Drôme, Hautes-Alpes, Isère and Alpes-de-Haute-Provence departments before reaching Monaco.

© Jaanus Ree
© DR

Since 1998, the Automobile Club de Monaco has organised a challenge especially for vintage cars: the Rallye Monte-Carlo Historique. It follows the routes, and more importantly the spirit, of the gentleman driver’s rally during the 1950s–1970s, and adds the so-called “concentration leg” that is popular with those who are nostalgic for the era.

Over the years, this GT challenge, the opening leg of the FIA World Rally Championship, has become an unmissable event on the international motorsports calendar.

In 2021, the Rallye de Monte-Carlo, which took place without spectators due to the health crisis, was won for the eighth time in Monaco by French driver Sébastien Ogier, a seven-time world champion, and his co-driver Julien Ingrassia. The record is all the more impressive when you consider that the two men are the first to win with five different cars.

“This is the record that brings me the most joy, for a whole host of reasons. It was in Monte-Carlo that I discovered rally driving, where I dreamed of doing this someday, and so it’s the one that means the most to me,” said Sébastien Ogier from the podium, alongside Prince Albert II.

© Direction de la Communication - Manuel Vitali
© Direction de la Communication

With this win, Sébastien Ogier and his loyal co-driver have overtaken the Franco-Monegasque duo of Sébastien Loeb and Daniel Elena, who have chalked up seven victories.

Walter Röhrl from Germany, Tommi Mäkinen from Finland (both with four victories to their name), Didier Auriol from France and Carlos Sainz from Spain (three wins each) have also carved their names on this storied trophy.

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