A tantalising mix of roads and surfaces at Monza circuit’s Cathedral of Speed, allied with tricky asphalt in the foothills of the Italian Alps, make an enticing formula for the WRC season finale at ACI Rally Monza (3 – 6 December).
The late addition to the calendar is based at the Milan circuit, where classic corners including Parabolica and Lesmo, steeply banked curves on the old oval track, and awkward gravel service roads sandwich mountain road action close to Lake Como.
The rally will be the most compact traditional WRC round ever with 241.14km of competitive action packed into a 513.90km route, meaning almost 47 per cent of the distance is against the clock.
All the circuit speed tests carry the names of tyres from local manufacturer Pirelli, and the event roars into life on Thursday afternoon with the curtain-raising Sottozero The Monza Legacy (4.33km).
Friday’s first full day comprises five tests at the parkland circuit. Two morning passes through Scorpion (13.43km) are followed by a double run over Cinturato (16.22km). The leg closes with PZero Grand Prix (10.31km) in darkness.
A 15-minute service follows each of the opening four stages, with a regular 45-minute service at the end of the day. The competitive distance is 69.61km.
Saturday journeys north-east for the longest leg of the event on roads north of Bergamo.
Morning and afternoon loops comprising Selvino (25.06km), Gerosa (11.09km) and Costa Valle Imagna (22.17km) are separated by service at Monza. A repeat of Friday’s PZero Grand Prix, again in darkness, takes the day’s tally to 126.95m.
All three road stages are at a high altitude with the potential for fog, ice and even snow to add to the challenge.
It’s back to Monza for the season’s final day on Sunday. PZero Grand Prix is tackled for a third time before a double attempt at Serraglio (14.97km). The second run forms the Wolf Power Stage and confirms the destination of a host of world titles. The day’s action totals 40.25km.
The full itinerary can be viewed here.