Standing on the frozen grass of the Monte Carlo Rally as Sébastien Ogier powers past in his M-Sport Ford Fiesta WRC, it certainly seems like the changes applied to the 2017 World Rally Championship (WRC) have worked a treat.

“The engine picks up so much faster before,” is the verdict from one punter. “You can really see the difference between the 2017 cars and last year’s models when they accelerate,” says another.

This year’s cars are running with more advanced active centre differentials that have to put 380bhp down onto Monte Carlo’s icy surface.

“It’s faster, but the extra power and more downforce is already increasing tyre wear,” says Tommi Mäkinen, four-time champion and team principle of Toyota Gazoo Racing. “It suits some drivers but others will wear tyres out faster.”