A radically redesigned route has been announced for next year's Monte Carlo Rally, boasting more stages, more miles and a new class to allow GT cars to compete.
The event, which remains as a round of the International Rally Championship rather than the WRC next season, will start from Valence rather than Monaco, with the mainstay of the action based in the Ardeche region, which has higher roads more likely to contain snow in January. On the eve of the event, another new feature will be a selection stage – run on Tuesday evening – which will decide the running order of the rally.
The opening day of stages (Wednesday, January 20) is completely new from this year and includes two loops of the famously testing Burzet and St Pierreville stages. Another interesting feature of day one is the lack of service. The crews will be permitted a change of tires between the two loops, but otherwise the cars will remain untouched by the mechanics throughout the leg.
The next day remains the same as last season as does Friday's run down from Valence to Monaco. The first stage in the final loop, which includes the famous Col de Turini section, has been halved in length – thought to be due to road construction work in the area. The stage now starts farther north up the D2586 and misses out the section of hairpins just outside Luceram. Once again, the event ends in the early hours of Saturday morning alongside the harbor in Monaco.
Rene Isoart, general commissioner of the Automobile Club de Monaco, said: "The Monte Carlo Rally is staying with the IRC because we have found within this series all the necessary ingredients to allow the Rally to return to the fundamental values of the sport."
Geraldine Filiol, director general of Eurosport Events added: "We are very proud to again extend a warm welcome from the IRC to the Monte Carlo Rally and to continue our fruitful collaboration with the ACM. As with the 2009 rally, we are planning wide-ranging coverage of the event with live TV broadcasts of the specials offering viewers a unique coverage of this prestigious event."Monte Carlo Rally 2010 - itinerary
Leg 1 - Tuesday January 19 - Valence
SSS Lente - Col de Gaudissart (5.48 miles)
Leg 2 - Wednesday January 20 - Valence
SS1 Burzet-Lachamp Raphael (16.94 miles)
SS2 St Pierreville - Antraigues (28.08 miles)
Tyre service - Vals les Bains
SS3 Burzet-Lachamp Raphael (16.94 miles)
SS4 St Pierreville - Antraigues (28.08 miles)
Leg 3 - Thursday January 21 - Valence
SS5 Labatie d'Andaure - St Pierre sur Doux (15.72 miles)
SS6 St Bonnet - St Julien - St Bonnet (15.95 miles)
SS7 Lamastra - Gilhoc - Alboussiere (13.62 miles)
Service - Valence
SS8 Labatie d'Andaure - St Pierre sur Doux (15.72 miles)
SS9 St Bonnet - St Julien - St Bonnet (15.95 miles)
SS10 Lamastra - Gilhoc - Alboussiere (13.62 miles)
Leg 4 - Friday January 22 - Valence - Monaco
SS11 Montbaun-Eygalayes (18.90 miles)
Service - Monaco
SS12 Peira Cava - La Bollene Vesbuie (11.46 miles)
SS13 Lantosque - Luceram (11.88 miles)
Service - Monaco
SS14 Peira Cava - La Bollene Vesbuie (11.46 miles)
SS15 Lantosque - Luceram (11.88 miles)
Finish - Monaco