WRC at Monte Carlo 2012: CAR Magazine's gallery

Published: 01 March 2012

In the new March 2012 issue of CAR Magazine Mark Walton went to the 2012 Monte Carlo rally to take the pulse of the World Rally Champtionship. Can it survive without broad television coverage? Have the manufacturers lost the appetite? And what about the fans? Walton dons his bobble hat and turns rally nerd for a couple of days. Click here for a digital preview of the March issue

Monte Carlo Rally: one of the most famous races on the rallying calendar 

 Col de Turini: one of the best roads for road testers, enthusiasts and rally fans. Bikes not allowed during rally season

 Moments later, a sideways hatchback driven by a lunatic descended here at pace

 The countryside around Monte Carlo is stunning. The yachty nature of Monaco gives way to French rural idyll

 Note umbrella held by fan, right. Mud, rain and wind are the staples of the rally fan

 The Mini WRC car has been struck by crisis. Prodrive and BMW fell out over sponsorship and funding, but the Countryman still made it to Monte Carlo

 Not your usual approach angle for a right-hander on a mountain road

 Rally spectators are still allowed ludicrously close to the action. No F1 style arm's length business here

 Ford, Citroen, Mini... WRC still draws mainstream car brands - and more are coming, with VW arriving soon

 Cars line up between stages

 Solberg, Patterson, Ford... some teams have changed rotas this season

 First gear? Check. 4000rpm? Yep. Can of Red Bull? For sure...

 After BMW's hissy fit, it's luck this wasn't charged with race duties for Mini at the WRC

 The mountains around Monte Carlo provide plenty of this

 And that. Rally still provides the most visceral, raw motorsport on the planet

 Citroen has dominated WRC rallying in recent years. Too early to call on their outlook for 2012, but they're looking strong

 Ford has promoted Latvala to first driver, joined by Solberg

 Days after the Monte Carlo rally BMW pulled its factory backing from the Mini WRC programme

 Service park at the 2012 Monte Carlo Rally. Prodrive mechanics beaver away. But where's Kris Meeke? He lost his seat just before Christmas


 Hirvonen, died-in-the-wool Ford man. Strange to see him in Citroen overalls

 Drivers chewing the fat just before a stage kicks off: Loeb, Delecour and a co-driver swap notes

 Despite the uncertainty over the Mini programme, Sordo still put in a fiery performance at the 2012 Monte

 Night time, the top of the Col de Turini. This is what rallying's all about

 A few drinks in, our snapper loses his focus

 It's not just us who's lost our focus; Ford is now running the Fiesta instead of the Focus...



 Citroen coming in to win. At the rally - not the casino

 The first Monte Carlo rally after a long absence. Loeb picks up where he left off - with a win

 Citroen remains the biggest team and the manufacturer most committed to world rallying

 Solberg in the Fiesta. It's the second year that the Blue Oval has campaigned the supermini in WRC

 It's not just the cars hurtling sideways out of control...

 Monte Carlo normally hosts F1 races here in the summer; this winter, it was WRC

 Solberg congratulates Loeb on his win. No fisticuffs in WRC

 Loeb seeks protection from crazy fan behind his sunglasses

 Skoda's S2000 car. It's part of the VW group's preparation for a full-flung effort with the Polo WRC 

 Parc ferme at 2012 Monte Carlo rally

 Skoda picked up a gong in the S2000 class

 Solberg impressed on first outing with Ford: he took the final step on the podium

 Sordo did well, considering the uncertainty over the Mini programme. He came second

 Citroen celebrated another win at the 2012 Monte

 The drivers get busy with the fizzy. There's twice the champagne in rallying with the co-drivers celebrating too

>> Don't miss Mark Walton's feature in the March 2012 issue of CAR Magazine out now