Of all the Rally car championships held throughout the world, none is more revered or iconic than the French extravaganza that is the Monte Carlo rally. First held over a century ago in 1911, the Monte Carlo rally now takes place along the French Riviera between Monaco and southeast France. In previous years, contestants would set off from all four corners of Europe to later meet up in Monaco in celebration at the end of this incredible global event.

Even from the beginning rally racing was a spectacular media fuelled spectacle in which the winning vehicle would instantly become a much sought after model and its driver an overnight celebrity. However, the race has been subject to some controversy throughout the years. In 1966 the first three cars to cross the finish line were Mini-Coopers, and were all disqualified for the rather dubious accusation of having incorrect bulbs in their headlamps. A further seven vehicles were also excluded for similarly suspect reasons. The result of this episode led many to believe there was corruption at the heart of the annual race and its popularity began to decline.

But in 1973 the event was given a makeover with the rally being held instead in the month of January having been restructured to be the first part of the FIA World Rally Championship. Following this move credibility came back to the sport and rally car racing surged in popularity with more countries than ever participating. Since 2009 the Monte Carlo has instead been altered to become the opening round of the Intercontinental Rally Challenge tournament.

The event was given another shake up in 1991 as the rules were changed so that drivers were offered a choice of five different starting points throughout Monte Carlo. The environments present at each of these points vary greatly with driving conditions ranging from dry tarmac to snow and ice.

To mark the centenary Monte Carlo event, it was announced in 2010 that the rally that year would include new starting positions throughout Europe to comprise several major cities, including Glasgow, Barcelona, Warsaw, and Marrakesh being the chosen destinations.

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