The 2007 Monte Carlo Rally (formally known as the 75e Rallye Automobile Monte-Carlo) was a rallying autosports race held over four days between 18 January and 21 January 2007, and operated out of Valence, Drôme, France. It was the first race of the 2007 World Rally Championship (WRC) season. Contested over fifteen stages at a length of 328.54 kilometres (204.15 miles), Sébastien Loeb won the race for the Citroën Total World Rally Team. Dani Sordo finished second in the other Citröen works car, with Marcus Grönholm finishing third in a Ford.
Loeb, driving an all new Citroën C4 WRC car which had been in development throughout 2006, took control of the race from the outset, winning the two stages on the first day and four more stages over the following three days. His teammate Sordo kept the pressure on, winning three stages, but on Stage 6, Loeb extended his lead from 6.6 seconds to nearly 24 seconds, and from thereon became unattainable. Each stage on the first two Legs were won by either Loeb or Sordo, and it wasn't until Saturday afternoon on the second run of the day's stages, that other drivers could effectively challenge them. The last two days of the race consisted of a duel between Mikko Hirvonen, who drove a factory 2006 model Ford Focus RS WRC, and Chris Atkinson in a factory Subaru Impreza WRC 2006. After Hirvonen completed Stage 2 in fourth place, Atkinson took the position on Stage 3 and held onto it throughout Friday and into Saturday morning's stages. On Stage 12 on Saturday afternoon, Hirvonen retook fourth, Atkinson regained it on Stage 13 but then lost it to Hirvonen again following Stage 14. Atkinson won the final stage on Sunday morning, and finished the race back in fourth position.
Controversially, the 2007 Monte Carlo Rally was no longer based in Monaco and localities nearby, where it had been held in recent years. The event only visited Monte Carlo with its final special stage, a short run on part of the Circuit de Monaco and the rest of the time was spent in and around Valence hundreds of kilometres north of Monaco in the Rhône-Alpes region. Many of the locations had not been visited since the 1990s, such as the Vercors and Ardèche, and only one top level driver had competitively driven on the roads before. The 2007 event also marked the return of the nighttime stages.
Loeb's win was his fourth at Monte Carlo and twenty-ninth in WRC. It was the sixth time that he had achieved a podium position there, which brought his WRC podium finishes to forty-eight. He earned ten points in the World Rally Championship for Drivers. Sordo was two points behind him, while Grönholm was in third position with six points. With Atkinson and Hirvonen in fourth and fifth place, Petter Solberg, Toni Gardemeister and Jan Kopecký were the other points finishers. In the World Rally Championship for Manufacturers, Citroën Total World Rally Team earned the maximum eighteen points for their 1–2 finish, BP Ford World Rally Team placed second, with ten points, with the Subaru World Rally Team placing third with eight points.
Famous quotes containing the words monte, carlo and/or rally:
“...we were at last in Monte Cristos country, fairly into the country of the fabulous, where extravagance ceases to exist because everything is extravagant, and where the wildest dreams come true.”
—Willa Cather (18761947)
“If there is anything so romantic as that castle-palace-fortress of Monaco I have not seen it. If there is anything more delicious than the lovely terraces and villas of Monte Carlo I do not wish to see them. There is nothing beyond the semi-tropical vegetation, the projecting promontories into the Mediterranean, the all-embracing sweep of the ocean, the olive groves, and the enchanting climate! One gets tired of the word beautiful.”
—M. E. W. Sherwood (18261903)
“All the critics who could not make their reputations by discovering you are hoping to make them by predicting hopefully your approaching impotence, failure and general drying up of natural juices. Not a one will wish you luck or hope that you will keep on writing unless you have political affiliations in which case these will rally around and speak of you and Homer, Balzac, Zola and Link Steffens.”
—Ernest Hemingway (18991961)