Monte Carlo is to the World Rally Championship what the Monaco Grand Prix is to Formula One. Aside from being held in the same tiny European principality, it's probably the most iconic, most well-known rally stage in the world. They couldn't cancel it. They wouldn't. They have. Sort of.
Headlines around the motorsport world have been shouting that the Monte Carlo stage will be absent from the 2009 WRC calendar for only the third time since the series' inception. But that's only the tip of the proverbial iceberg. Starting in two years' time, every stage on the race calendar will alternate years, in a bid to include as many locations as possible in the series each year without overcrowding the calendar and putting additional stress on the teams. (And the motoring press, for that matter, thank you very much.) Whereas this year saw no less than 16 rally stages in the WRC, next year will be reduced to 15, and the 2009 and 2010 calendars will be burdened by only 12 rounds each. Yet over the course of the '09 and '10, 24 countries will have hosted WRC stages. So in point of fact, while the Monte Carlo stage is cancelled for the 2009 schedule, it returns in 2010 and will apparently alternate every year thereafter.
Follow the jump to view the full calendars for the 2009 and 2010 seasons of the FIA World Rally Championship.
2009 FIA World Rally Championship:
2010 FIA World Rally Championship:
Monte Carlo 24-Jan
New Zealand 16-May