There's very little about most top-tier motorsports that resembles the kind of driving ordinary people do every day. Except for the Monte Carlo Rally, and that's what makes it the most realistic (and challenging) rally in the world.

Here you're riding onboard with Kris Meeke in his Citroen WRC car on the opening day of the Monte. The stage goes over the top of a mountain, which starts as clear tarmac at the bottom, then turns into slush, then snow as he reaches the crest. That means he starts out on tarmac tires, but then finds himself hopelessly out of grip when he hits slick ice and snow.


This happens to all the drivers in the Monte. There's no way to be on the right tire for the whole rally. Everyone ends up on the wrong compound at some point.

Watching the video, you think Meeke couldn't go any slower and still he's sliding all over the road (with a cliff wall one one side and a drop on the other), muttering 'holy shit' under his breath.

As the recent winter storms in the South have reminded everyone, some of the most difficult driving imaginable is when you're faced with unplowed snow and you don't have proper tires.

That's exactly what drivers have to work through in the Rallye Monte Carlo. Public roads, (highly tuned) production cars, and very real conditions. It's what makes it the most challenging rally on the calendar. And since the demise of the great road races of the first half of the 20th century, it's possibly the most realistic major auto race left.

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