The 'indestructible legend' of the Monte Carlo rally

    Story highlights

    • The Monte Carlo Rally returned to the World Rally Championship this week
    • The principality has been part of the Intercontinental Rally Challenge for the last three years
    • Citroen's French driver Sebastien Loeb has won the historic rally on five occasions
    • Loeb has won an unprecedented eight world titles since entering the sport in 1999
    Monte Carlo is a millionaire's playground which has blended wealth and sophistication with the fast-paced thrills of motorsport since the early 20th century.
    Formula One has been a regular visitor to the principality since 1929, but rallying has returned this week after a three-year hiatus for the opening round of the 2012 world championship, with the sport's undisputed king Sebastien Loeb seeking an unprecedented ninth crown.
    So how important is Monte Carlo to rally and motorsport?
    "It is very difficult to drive a train with no locomotive," Ruchdi Hajjar, director of the Automobile Club de Monaco told CNN.
    Hajjar said Monte Carlo's absence from the World Rally Championship was down to a disagreement with the sport's governing body over regulations which were introduced for the 2009 season.
    "Due to the alternation of regulations, the Monte Carlo Rally had to leave the WRC in 2008. We were requested by the FIA to come back in 2012 which we did after obtaining some guarantees of changes in the regulations that we hardly believe in."