The 2018 season is about to start with only a few hours until shakedown. Monte Carlo is known or even notorious for its changing and surprising conditions, making often tyre choice very crucial when the drivers have to make compromises between best grip on snow, ice, wet and dry tarmac. Let’s look at the forecasts and observations from the stages.
There was plenty of snow on the Alps a couple of weeks ago, but most of it is already gone. The shakedown is placed close to Gap, relatively low. The conditions there this evening should be quite spring like, all dry and relatively warm.
However, the longest and probably the most challenging stage of the rally is the very first one, Thoard – Sisteron, a mountain route driven in the darkness of Thursday night and for the first time in this reversed direction. Even though the stage was almost undrivably snowy in early January most of it was already gone by recce time with patches of snow and ice in the forests. Weather forecast says it could be raining.
Similar rainy conditions are expected for most of Friday and Saturday. The only stage where we could expect snow seems to be SS10/12 on Saturday Saint-Léger-les-Mélèzes – La Bâtie-Neuve 2. The forecast is giving snowfall for both the night before and the day.
Sunday stages should be dry and warm like the shakedown. It was already that way during the recce. At least we shouldn’t see similar effect as last year when it started snowing during the power stage and early starters had a big advantage.
Of course, all this is subject to change until the last minute. The drivers could be facing a sudden snowfall or a patch of ice when they are equipped with tarmac tyres. But that’s a part of the challenge of Monte Carlo.
I wish an exciting and entertaining 2018 season to all my readers!
PS. Remember my earlier route preview post