The iconic event was reinstated to the World Rally Championship roster last season after spending 19 years watching from the side-lines and, overall, crews and teams were universal in their praise of it.

Aside from the picturesque scenery and breath-taking wildlife, the enthusiasm shown by fans was what really stood out for the competition’s biggest names – chiefly eight-time World Champion Ogier.

Speaking ahead of round six, which gets underway with a Super Special at lunchtime today (12.08pm), the Frenchman said: “The main reason why we came back is really because I was positively surprised – and amazed – about the atmosphere here last year, and the passion from the people around the rally. Last year we had a really nice welcome, a great atmosphere. It was something special and different to what we are used to.”

Ogier – who is making his third appearance for the Toyota Gazoo Racing team this campaign as part of his shared car programme with Esapekka Lappi – won the meeting 12 months ago by 21.8 seconds from Takamoto Katsuta.

He inherited top spot when long-time leader Thierry Neuville bowed out on the final leg's opener with rear suspension damage, the impact with a rock shattering the right-rear damper.

“And when you win, of course, you add more positive feelings and you want to come back again for the challenge,” added Ogier.

Ogier believes this weekend's route will be even more challenging than 2021, particularly those sections where fine sand that resembles solid ground but behaves like soft mud is present. “It’s going be a big challenge, we’ve seen conditions which look much harder than last year. I think everybody is going to get into trouble at some point,” he said.

“Simply, the conditions are rougher and some sections with more rocks and ‘fesh fesh’ soils, you don’t know what is under them and you can always have such a sudden surprise. It’s hard to know what to expect.

“At the same time, with the car you can get things such as overheating - many parameters that you can’t really control. But at the end, we are going to fight and make the best of it.”

For his part, Neuville is excited to be back and hoping to right the wrong of last year and reckons the setback will ensure he does not make the same mistake twice.

The experience was good for us; to know how to go about it this time, said the Belgian. We know that this year, we have to be well prepared in case of trouble; always to have good solutions, but I am really looking forward to this as a first event without any trouble and a good weekend.