Given that we’re just hours away from the start of Monte Carlo – admittedly 450 hours at the time of typing – is this a good time to start speculating on the weather?
Good. I agree. Let’s talk Monte.
Long-range forecast is looking chilly for the week of the event and there’s certainly some snow on the horizon as the teams prepare for their pre-event tests next week.
The route for this one has, of course, been radically overhauled with only the powerstage run over the Col de Turini remaining identical to last year. The service park has shipped north from the quayside in Monaco back to Gap, bringing more northerly stages and an increased chance of winter doing its thing.
“It does look like we could be in for a more old school Monte,” Toyota technical director Tom Fowler told DirtFish. “When we’re based out of Gap, there’s more chance of snow and ice – but typically with Monte Carlo, it’s about preparing for the unexpected.
“A full snow event is relatively easy to handle from a technical and tire selection point of view. It’s the same from the driver’s perspective: if they know it’s bad, they know it’s bad and they know what’s coming.
“It’s the changeable bit that’s tricky: it’s when you leave the service park and the weather turns worse than you’d expected – or conversely you leave the service park with a tire package built around the worst scenario and then the weather’s not as bad as predicted. Both of those leave you driving in conditions not as you expected and that’s where Monte experts like Séb [Ogier] come to the fore and have an ability to drive almost any car in any condition. To succeed on a changeable Monte, that’s what you have to do.”
Running out of Monaco is always a highlight. To see the service park backdropped by the world’s most famous harbour is great for the promotion of the sport, but the mountains closer to the sea, invariably don’t get the same snowfall as those further into France.
If it’s winter you want, Gap’s the go-to.
And, 450 hours out, winter is still looking very much part of the picture.