Wednesday’s regional government meeting boosted the World Rally Championship opening Monte Carlo Rally’s chances of going ahead as scheduled later this month, but it’s still too soon to be certain.
If upcoming national government decisions or escalations of the COVID-19 pandemic in France mean the current January 21-24 date proves impossible, an alternative has been suggested by last year’s Monte Carlo winner.
Speaking before the very latest developments, Hyundai driver Thierry Neuville raised the question of shifting the Monte from the start to the finish of the season.
He would rather see the event change its date than be canceled for 2021 altogether.
Neuville told DirtFish: “If they can put Monte Carlo to the end of the year it’s probably a nice solution and it would be nice to end the season on a rally like this one.
“I would be really disappointed if we don’t get going in Monte this year, but if there is a solution, instead of canceling, to put to the end of the season it might be the safest choice – the main goal would be to keep the rally.”
Asked if he’d heard anything specific from the Automobile Club de Monaco about the future of the event, Neuville said he hadn’t – but he had taken intel from a source closer to home.
“I got a message from my mother,” he said. “She was asking if it was true that Monte Carlo was canceled. I said: ‘I don’t think so – I might have the news maybe before you…’
This wouldn’t be the first time a shift from the Monte’s traditional January date had been discussed.
When the WRC was considering moving to a summer-to-summer format rather than the traditional January-November calendar, Monte Carlo was pencilled into a possible November or December date.