Thursday | 12 May 2022

Local knowledge favours Monzón in Canaries Qualifying Stage

Luis Monzón made the perfect start to his home Rally Islas Canarias by setting the fastest time on Thursday afternoon’s Qualifying Stage.

The three-time event winner steered his Škoda Fabia Rally2 through the 3.89km warm-up test 0.5sec faster than his nearest rivals as under one-second blanketed the top five. 

Monzón - born in the rally’s host city of Las Palmas - last claimed victory here in 2007. His winning time means he gets prime choice of his road position at the start order selection, which takes place from 1730hrs today. 

“It’s good for me, but I knew this stage very well,” explained the 56-year-old. “I have a house and little motorcycle track [on the stage] and I know the end of the route very well, so it was easier for me to get a good time. 

“The real rally starts tomorrow,” he continued. “Tomorrow it will be different and I will try to get a good result, but it’s very difficult to win here.

Campedelli tied with MRF team-mate Efrén Llarena

“All the drivers are very fast and if you lose even five seconds, for the driver it’s a real headache because it’s very difficult to get the time back,” he added. 

Azores Rallye winner Efrén Llarena set an identical time to his Team MRF Tyres team-mate Simone Campedelli as the Škoda pair completed the leading trio. 

Enrique Cruz - another former winner - was only one-tenth slower than Campedelli in his Ford Fiesta Rally2, with Tarmac titan Simon Wagner a mere 0.06sec further back in his Fabia. 

Wagner clinched a maiden ERC podium at round two and has been tipped as a victory favourite on the Canarian asphalt. 

Solans was eighth in a Polo

Sixth place went to Grzegorz Grzyb’s Pirelli-shod Škoda. The Pole ended 0.5sec down on Wagner and just 0.046sec clear of Yoann Bonato, who has brought his Citroën C3 Rally2 out to play for the first time this season. 

Comeback king Nil Solans could only muster eighth with his Volkswagen Polo, while Fabia friends Alberto Battistolli and Javier Pardo rounded off the leaderboard. 

The rally begins later this evening with an opening superspecial stage based around the edge of the Las Palmas service park. 

Qualifying Stage Classification:

Pos Driver Car Time
1. Luis MONZÓN (ESP) / José Carlos DÉNIZ (ESP) Skoda Fabia Rally2 2min 8.014sec
=2. Efrén LLARENA (ESP) / Sara FERNÁNDEZ (ESP) Skoda Fabia Rally2 +0.581sec
=2. Simone CAMPEDELLI (ITA) / Tania CANTON (CHE) Skoda Fabia Rally2 +0.581sec
4. Enrique CRUZ (ESP) / Yeray MÚJICA (ESP) Ford Fiesta Rally2 +0.625sec
5. Simon WAGNER (AUT) / Gerald WINTER (AUT) Skoda Fabia Rally2 +0.685sec
6 Grzegorz GRZYB (POL) / Tomasz BORKO (POL) Skoda Fabia Rally2 +1.086sec
7. Yoann BONATO (FRA) / Benjamin BOULLOUD (FRA) Citroën C3 Rally2 +1.132sec
8. Nil SOLANS (ESP) / Marc MARTÍ (ESP) Volkswagen Polo GTI R5 +1.479sec
9. Alberto BATTISTOLLI (ITA) / Simone SCATTOLIN (ITA) Skoda Fabia Rally2 +1.595sec
10. Javier PARDO (ESP) / Adrián PÉREZ (ESP) Skoda Fabia Rally2 +2.274sec
  • Full coverage from Rally Islas Canarias will be available on WRC+ All Live here, including every stage broadcast as it happens as well as key interviews, features and expert analysis from the service park.