We pick out some of the best shots from the rally’s history ahead of the 2014 event.
Ahh, an Escort Mk2 with its back-end hanging out at Rallye Monte-Carlo – it’s the sort of image that’s liable to get rally fans weeping into their thermoses. This Escort is being piloted by Super Swede Bjorn Waldegard in the 1979 Monte.
‘El Matador’ nips into one of the Rallye Monte-Carlo’s famous tunnels in his Focus in 2001. Sainz would finish the rally second that year, behind four-time champion Tommi Makinen in his Mitsubishi Lancer Evo.
Local hero Didier Auriol slides his Celica around one of the Monte’s notorious hairpins in 1993. Auriol would go on to lead another local hero, Francois Delecour, home for the win. Delecour is currently preparing to drive a Ford Fiesta RS WRC at the 2014 event, 21 years after this shot was taken.
This shot shows Finnish rallying legend Henri Toivonen manhandling his brutish 500bhp Delta through the stages of the 1986 Rallye Monte-Carlo en route to victory. This shot is all the more poignant because just three events later, at the Tour de Corse, Toivonen lost his life in the same car.
That speck in the distance is Sebastien Loeb en route to his second ever WRC victory back in 2003. The twisty mountain passes are another element that makes the Rallye Monte-Carlo unique, requiring intense concentration from the drivers to prevent their cars becoming 300bhp pinballs.
A classic rally car this, from the days when rally cars’ horsepower figures were just creeping into the hundreds rather than the several-hundreds. Fiat's 131 won the WRC manufacturers' title three times, in 1977, 1978 and 1980, with drivers like Alen, Timo Salonen and Walter Rohrl behind the wheel.
Cute, isn’t it? Northern Irishman Paddy Hopkirk won the Monte in his Mini back in 1964, while two years later, he and his fellow Mini drivers had their win and two podiums stripped from them due to a headlight irregularity which allowed Pauli Toivonen (in a French Citroen, no less) to win.
And here is Pauli Toivonen in that infamous 1966 Rallye Monte-Carlo. Toivonen was so embarrassed at being given the win after the Mini drivers’ disqualification that he avoided the race awards ceremony. When son Henri won the rally 20 years later, Toivonen felt his family name had been cleared.
Here’s Italian driver Piero Liatti en route to the 1997 Monte win, the only one of his career. Occasionally, Super Special stages of the Rallye Monte-Carlo use a shortened version of the Formula One track, as seen here, with Liatti sliding his Subaru around La Rascasse hairpin.
Rallying in the early days wasn’t quite the frenetic sport it is today. Here Walter Schock guides his cumbersome Merc, helmet-less, rollcage-less and with the rear seats still in place, through a narrow bridge watched by the locals.
Rohrl was four-time winner of the Monte, a record equalled by Tommi Makinen and then smashed – like so many WRC records – by Sebastien Loeb, who won seven. Here Rohrl guides his Quattro towards his final Monte win in 1984.