Mickey Mouse stages? WRC drivers’ early Monza verdict

Final round of 2020 doesn't get under way until Thursday, but drivers have already had their say on GP circuit's stages


Rarely has one Walt Disney character been the subject of such serious World Rally Championship discussion as Mickey Mouse was on Wednesday night.

Following the two-day Monza Rally recce, the drivers aired their views on whether the stages on the Formula 1 Italian Grand Prix circuit were, in fact, Mickey Mouse or not.

The use of Mickey Mouse was first adopted in the WRC to describe the traditional Sunday spectator stages on the RAC Rally in the 1980s and 1990s that often took place on race tracks.

Championship leader Elfyn Evans admitted the Friday and Sunday tests wouldn’t be like anything previously seen this season. If ever.

“They’re not traditional stages by any means,” said Evans, when asked by DirtFish to assess the stages.

“The sections on the track itself are not bad, they’ve been marked out well on the recce. It’s still challenging enough with the way the rubber is on the track.

“And the gravel bits yesterday, to be honest, weren’t looking too bad. The recce today was, obviously, a different picture with some ruts appearing in the gravel already.

“So that could be another story by the time we’ve run over them a few times.”

Evans’ Toyota team-mate Sébastien Ogier said Monza could provide the season’s biggest challenge.

“There’s a lot of gravel and mud on the circuit sections and that’s going to be extremely challenging with an asphalt [specification] car,” he said.

“Maybe that Mickey Mouse term is not the right one for this weekend because it’s quite a difficult challenge already.”


Ogier applauded the use of concrete blocks to mark out chicanes on the circuit – referencing his 10-second penalty at Rally México in 2018, when he was adjudged to have had an advantage from a plastic chicane being moved.

“There is some concrete [chicances] which is a good thing in the way it will be equal conditions for everybody,” he added.

“Sometimes we have chicanes [that are not concrete] and they are moving and not the same for everybody and that’s not fair.

“Now making them with a concrete block means if you touch them then there will some issue [with the car] and you won’t go further. That’s a good thing for equality.”

Reigning world champion Ott Tänak wasn’t so sure. He could definitely see scope for comparison to a 112-year-old rodent in red shorts.

“Definitely, they look more like Mickey Mouse stages that we normally have on the rally only on a longer distance,” the Hyundai driver said.

“My feeling about rallying has always been about cars flying around in the forest between the trees and in the high-speed. This one is long straights and junctions.

“But at the same time it’s very demanding and we are changing the surface so many times and the weather [could be changeable] as well – even if the stages are looking like Mickey Mouse they won’t be so easy to drive.”