Rallye Monte-Carlo Preview: Rally1

January 24, 2024Joe Moore

The 2024 World Rally Championship season kicks off this weekend with the Rallye Monte-Carlo.

A New Season 

Rallye Monte-Carlo will kick off the new World Rally Championship season. Due to this being the first round, there aren’t any championship standings to go over. This means this will be a slightly different preview than the other 12 rounds of the championship. Below I will go over what to expect from the historic event as well as all the teams participating in the event. 

Team Rundowns

Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT

The Toyota Gazoo Racing World Rally Team enters the 2024 WRC season as manufacturer champions. They have also won two of the last three Rallye Monte-Carlo’s. With Sebastien Ogier winning both events for the team. Ogier is the favourite to win the event for the 10th time in his career this weekend. However, drivers such as Elfyn Evans, Thierry Neuville and Ott Tänak will look to stop him. Nevertheless, Ogier’s experience at the tricky event will likely be what leads him to victory at his home event. Takamoto Katsuta will join Elfyn Evans and Sebastien Ogier this weekend. 

Hyundai Shell Mobis WRT 

Realistically speaking, Hyundai has the only drivers that can challenge Ogier for the win this weekend. As Thierry Neuville won the event in 2020. Ending the domination from Sebastien Ogier and Loeb at the event. Rallye Monte-Carlo will also be Ott Tänak’s first event back in a Hyundai. This comes after the Estonian spent last season with M-Sport Ford. Another driver returning to Hyundai will make their debut this weekend. As reigning WRC2 champion Andreas Mikkelsen will suit up for his first event back with Hyundai this weekend. With a team of Neuville, Tänak and Mikkelsen, Hyundai have a strong contender to Toyota’s trio of drivers. 

M-Sport Ford WRT 

With all due respect to Adrien Fourmaux and Grégoire Munster, don’t expect much out of M-Sport Ford this weekend. Realistically speaking this is Fourmaux’s first event in a Rally1 car since 2022. Sure he contested Forum8 Rally Japan in a Rally1 car last season. However, he had very few stage kilometres in the car before he went off the road and ended his event. As for Munster, this will be his first time in the car competitively since the Central European Rally. Fourmaux and Munster will likely use this weekend’s event to get used to the car. Rather than pushing for a high finish. 

Driver Quotes 

Jari-Matti Latvala, Team Principal, Toyota 

“We have enjoyed some fantastic success over the last few seasons and we naturally hope to continue this in 2024. We expect an even greater challenge and it will be even tougher to claim all the titles. To win the manufacturers’ championship once again will be our primary target, and if we can achieve the drivers’ and co-drivers’ titles too, that would be a really great bonus. Our team is working hard all the time to develop the car through the season and make it an ever-better car. With Rallye Monte-Carlo, we start with one of the most demanding rallies, and I think a good weekend there can really give you a confidence boost. So Elfyn and Taka will be trying to make the best possible starts to their seasons, and it’s always exciting to have Seb driving with us on his home roads where he has been so strong before. We’re also really excited to see the GR Yaris Rally2 in action: after testing we’re feeling confident in the car, but it’s only now in competition that we can really see the level it’s at and gather more feedback for future development.” 

Sebastien Ogier, Car 17, Toyota 

“I’m happy to be at the start of another season after all these years, and I take this opportunity with both hands. The last couple of years have been good fun with the team and we managed to secure some good results. I think we want to keep going this way as long as we can and that’s the plan for 2024, starting with Rallye Monte-Carlo of course. For me this is a must-do event and there’s a lot of hopes for this first rally. I think it’s the rally that you need to respect more than any other as the conditions can be so challenging, which means that nothing is guaranteed. Numbers are never my main motivation, but if I could get a 10th win on this event it would be something very special.” 

Cyril Abiteboul, Team Principal, Hyundai

Our goal is to have a clean weekend and maximise the opportunity of the fresh start. It will also be everyone’s first time competing with the updated points-scoring system, which will add a new dynamic to the event.”

Ott Tänak, Car 8, Hyundai

“At the test, the feeling in the car was good and we found a nice rhythm. Our target at the rally is to achieve a podium finish, but of course we will push for the best result possible.”