Bonata takes back-to-back ERC Rally Canarias win by 2.8s

Bonato takes back-to-back ERC Rally Canarias win by 2.8s

Yoann Bonato has taken victory at Rally Islas Canarias, the second round of the 2024 European Rally Championship.

Bonato started the final day with a slender margin of 0.3sec over fellow Frenchman Mathieu Franceschi. But he held on after a thrilling battle in the heat of the Gran Canaria sunshine by 2.8sec having begun the day with a brace of fastest stage times.

Bonato’s win was the first for the Citroën C3 Rally2 in this year’s ERC but the second for Michelin in 2024. With Franceschi’s Škoda Fabia Rally2 also Michelin-equipped, the French manufacturer extends its advantage in the new-for-2024 FIA European Rally Championship for Tyre Suppliers.

Franceschi takes ERC championship lead

For Franceschi, meanwhile, two runner-up finishes in a row means he climbs to the top of the Drivers’ championship summit ahead of next month’s BAUHAUS Royal Rally of Scandinavia.

“We are very happy,” Bonato said following the third victory of his ERC career. “We tried to push as maximum as possible and the result was perfect for us, the team, the tyres and the car. It was a hard second loop with the temperatures going higher but everything was okay.”

The 40-year-old continued: “We only do three events in ERC this year and if we can win each one it should be perfect. But with such a small gap this morning we had to start like it was a new rally. And it worked.”

With championship points his priority, Franceschi admitted he had to resist the temptation to attack Bonato, a five-time French Tarmac champion, for his maiden ERC win, although he still notched up a stage win on SS11.

“We tried to have a nice rhythm and a nice feeling to see if was possible to push with Bonato,” said the 24-year-old. “But it was demanding too much to take too much risk, so for the points we decided to calm the situation, follow the road and go to the finish line.

“It’s amazing, we never expected this result in Gran Canaria because it’s a special event, unlike Tarmac in any other championship, so we’re so happy. Sometimes it’s important to think about the championship so we followed the plan.”

Alejandro Cachón won a thrilling all-Spanish battle for the final podium spot in his Pirelli-shod Toyota GR Yaris Rally2, defeating Diego Ruiloba by 2.7sec with Jose Antonio Suarez finishing fifth. Cachón led after SS4 but dropped back with a damaged tyre before he launched his stunning comeback.

Paddon struggles with understeer

Reigning ERC champion Hayden Paddon started leg two in third place but with his Pirelli-equipped Hyundai i20 N Rally2 hampered by an understeer issue, the New Zealander had to settle for sixth.

ERC3 champion Jon Armstrong placed seventh in his Ford Fiesta Rally2 after earlier intercom problems. Mads Østberg hit back from a brake issue to finish eighth as Canary Islander Yeray Lemes took ninth, one place ahead of Austria’s Simon Wagner.

2022 champion Efren Llarena, Enrique Cruz, Alexey Lukyanuk and Erik Cais were next up as Hankook-equipped Filip Mareš completed the top 15 championship scorers in his Toyota GR Yaris Rally2. A two-minute time penalty for a tyre infringement dropped Miko Marczyk out of the points-paying positions.

Following their high-speed crash on SS3, Mikós Csomós and Attila Nagy were expected to return home to their native Hungary before the end of the weekend to recover to full fitness. “We both have some fractures but nothing serious although we have a lot of pain everywhere because the impact was from 110kph to zero, so thank you once again to Škoda for making such a strong car,” Nagy said.

The FIA European Rally Championship is back on gravel next when the Swedish city of Karlstad hosts the second running of BAUHAUS Royal Rally of Scandinavia, round three of the season, from 13 – 15 June.

ERC Rally Islas Canarias 2024 – Final results

#DriversCarTime / Diff. to 1st
1.Bonato / BoulloudCitroën C3 Rally21:57:18.8
2.Franceschi / MalfoySkoda Fabia RS Rally2+2.8
3.Cachón / RozadaToyota GR Yaris Rally2+29.7
4.Ruiloba / VelaCitroën C3 Rally2+32.4
5.Suárez / IglesiasSkoda Fabia RS Rally2+35.3
6.Paddon / KennardHyundai i20 N Rally2+40.9
7.Armstrong / TreacyFord Fiesta Rally2+59.1
8.Østberg / BarthCitroën C3 Rally2+1:01.1
9.Lemes / PeñateCitroën C3 Rally2+1:12.6
10.Wagner / WinterSkoda Fabia RS Rally2+1:17.7

ERC 2024 Drivers’ Championship – Standings after Round 2/8 [Top 10]

1.Mathieu Franceschi56
2.Hayden Paddon35 (-21)
3.Simone Tempestini33 (-23)
4.Yoann Bonato32 (-24)
5.Alejandro Cachón26 (-30)
6.Miklós Csomós25 (-31)
7.Jon Armstrong25 (-31)
8.Diego Ruiloba23 (-33)
9.Erik Cais19 (-37)
10.Jose Antonio Suárez17 (-39)

Photo, text: Red Bull Content Pool