Welcome back, everyone! The 2018 WRC season is upon us, and as usual it begins at the event Malcolm Wilson calls “The rally.” Rallye Monte Carlo, one of the oldest and most prestigious rallies in the world.

I’m currently in a muffler shop waiting for my Lemons Rally car to be straight piped, so unlike Monte, this preview may not be as fancy as usual. Also it’ll probably be a bit late.

Beyond the glitz, the glamour, and the legacy, Monte Carlo is of course legendary for its unpredictability. Snaking from low altitudes by the city of its namesake up into the mountains and back down, competitors can be met by dry tarmac, wet tarmac, deep snow, sheet ice, and back to dry all in a single stage. This means competitors will regularly find themselves on the wrong kind of tires, and the winner is often the driver who makes the “best wrong choice.” This has been Seb’s playground for the past four years, as he’s sitting on four straight wins, but competitors have been making him work harder for his victories, and last year he only took the win after Thierry Neuville threw away a massive win late on the second full day. With all four manufacturers working hard to improve their cars during the offseason, there are quite a few drivers who could win this one. Latvala has two podiums here, Tanak was third here last year with just two working cylinders, and when Kris Meeke can keep it on the road he’s a threat anywhere.

Want to see how you did last year and refresh yourself on the rules? Check this out right here. Here’s the official Entry List, and the current fantasy points spreadsheet. (Surprise! It’s blank). And while you’re at it, you can also look at the driver’s data and statistics here.

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DEADLINE FOR PICKS: January 25, ‘18, 3:43 PM EST
(5 point per stage penalty after this time. Stage schedule here)

M-SPORT WORLD RALLY TEAM - FORD FIESTA RS WRC
Sebastien Ogier (FRA) - Avg last 10 rounds: 14.0 - Avg Monte: 23.6
Elfyn Evans (GBR) - Avg last 10 rounds: 9.7 - Avg Monte: 7.3
Bryan Bouffier (FRA) - Avg last 7 rounds: 4.9 - Avg Monte: 7.0

HYUNDAI MOTORSPORT - HYUNDAI i20 COUPE WRC
Andreas Mikkelsen (NOR) - Avg last 10 rounds: 7.6 - Avg Monte: 13.0
Theirry Neuville (BEL) - Avg last 10 rounds: 15.9 - Avg Monte: 4.2
Dani Sordo (ESP) - Avg last 10 rounds: 5.3 - Avg Monte: 8.7

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CITROEN TOTAL ABU DHABI WORLD RALLY TEAM - CITROEN C3 WRC
Kris Meeke (GBR) - Avg last 10 rounds: 6.6 - Avg Monte: 4.0
Craig Breen (IRL) - Avg last 10 rounds: 5.0 - Avg Monte: 10.0

TOYOTA GAZOO RACING WRC - TOYOTA YARIS WRC
Jari Matti Latvala (FIN) - Avg last 10 rounds: 5.8 - Avg Monte: 6.6
Ott Tanak (EST) - Avg last 10 rounds: 12.4 - Avg Monte: 6.3
Esapekka Lappi (FIN) - Avg last 8 rounds: 6.0 - Avg Monte: N/A

SINGLE CAR TEAMS AND INDEPENDENTS:
*
Manuel Villa* (ITA) - FORD - Avg last 0 rounds: N/A - Avg Oz: N/A

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*2016-spec car

Reminder: If you want to be notified when it’s time to make picks comment down below with your twitter/email or send me an email at howdeedoodat@gmail.com