Looking Back: 1999 Rallye Monte-Carlo

February 7, 2024Joe Moore

The 1999 Rallye Monte-Carlo is one of the more notable additions in recent history. Let’s travel back in time to the event. 

The Event 

The 1999 running of Rallye Monte-Carlo saw drivers contest 424.69 km of snowy tarmac roads across 14 stages in the French Alps. The shortest stage was the fifth stage of the event, St Clement – St Saveur. Spanning just 20.35 km in length. The longest test was the first stage of the event, Plan De Vitrolles – Faye. Which spanned a total of 48.28 km. 

Day One, A Shocking Start

Privateer Gillies Panizzi topped the timesheet after the first day’s five stages. Despite only winning a single stage. Panizzi sat first overall, with a 5.9-second gap over Tommi Makinen. Juha Kankkunen was third to end the day, a minute and 13.7 seconds behind Makinen. Colin McRae won two stages on the day. Despite this, he sat sixth overall after the day, 1 minute and 59.9 seconds behind Panizzi. The first day also caught out a couple of favourites to win the event. As both Carlos Sainz, Freddy Loix and Armin Schwarz retired on just the first stage. Sainz and Loix both crashed out, while Schwarz had a clutch issue. 

Day Two, Makinen Takes Lead

Reigning World Rally Champion Tommi Makinen topped the event after the second day. Winning two of the day’s five stages to take a minute and 14.4-second lead over standout Giles Panizzi. Juha Kankkunen ended the day in third, 20.2 seconds behind Panizzi. There were no notable moments on the day. Panizzi continued to be a standout on the day behind the wheel of his Subaru 22B. Colin McRae pushed up to fourth, while François Delecour ended the day in fifth. 

Day Three, Makinen Wins

The third and final day of the 1999 Rallye Monte Carlo saw Tommi Makinen hold on to his lead to win the event for the first time in his career. Makinen ended the event with a minute and 44.7-second lead over Juha Kankkunen. Didier Auriol finished the event third overall behind the wheel of his Toyota. Auriol finished a whopping two minutes and 8.1 seconds behind Kankkunen. Unfortunately, the final day did see a couple of notable drivers retire. On the first stage of the day, Giles Panizzi retired due to an accident. While Colin McRae was excluded from the event due to a water pump. 

First Of Four Consecutive Wins 

Tommi Makinen took his first Rallye Monte-Carlo win in 1999. However, the Finnish star would go on to win the next three editions of the event. Makinen to this day is tied for the third most wins at the event. Being tied with Walter Röhrl, Sandro Munari and Jean Trévoux. Makinen would be the only non-French winner of the event until fellow Finnish driver Mikko Hirvonen won the event in 2010. Makinen seemed to like to do things in four. As 1999 would be the last year Makinen won the World Rally Championship. Having won it the three seasons prior.