Fri 21 Oct 2022

Bonato noses in front in nip-and-tuck Catalan duel

Yoann Bonato and Efrén Llarena are embroiled in a fierce scrap for supremacy at RallyRACC Catalunya-Costa Daurada at the end of the opening loop of stages – with barely four seconds separating the pair following just shy of 60km of competitive action.

In the ERC Open battle, Alberto Monarri is 46.1sec in front of Suzuki Motor Iberica stablemate Joan Vinyes, but the latter needs simply to finish the rally to secure the season spoils.

The afternoon loop – comprising the same four stages – will get underway at 17:24 CET. Keep up with all the action in Catalunya via live timing here.

Overall Classification after SS4

Pos Driver Car Time
1. Yoann BONATO Citroën C3 35m46.4s
2. Efrén LLARENA Škoda Fabia +4.2s
3. Martin LÁSZLÓ Škoda Fabia +31.7s
4. Javier PARDO Škoda Fabia +1m23.4s
5. Laurent PELLIER Opel Corsa +1m31.1s
6. Alberto MONARRI Suzuki Swift +1m37.5s
7. Alberto BATTISTOLLI Škoda Fabia +2m11.0s
8. Andrea MABELLINI Renault Clio +2m19.8s
9. Joan VINYES Suzuki Swift +2m23.6s
10. Óscar PALOMO Peugeot 208 +2m30.8s

 

Recently-crowned FIA European Rally Champion Llarena came out-of-the-blocks fastest in SS1 to immediately establish a 3.6sec margin, but Bonato began nibbling away at that advantage on stage two before turning the tables on his MRF Tyres rival on SS3 – the longest of the leg at 22.64km – by outpacing Llarena to the tune of 5.4sec to move to the head of the order.

The Frenchman then increased his lead by a further 1.9sec on SS4 – the first pass through the Riba-roja stage – to end the morning 4.2sec clear of Llarena.

“After Canarias and Rome, we came here expecting another close battle with Efrén,” Bonato reflected. “The conditions were difficult, especially on the first two stages and the last one and we were taking care to avoid any punctures, but our Michelins performed well. Now we need to continue the same way – and I’m particularly looking forward to the stages after dark this evening.”

Martin László completes the provisional podium positions in third, just over half-a-minute adrift of Bonato, with shakedown pace-setter Javier Pardo a distant fourth in the second MRF car after finding himself slowed by a puncture and turbo wastegate issue.

Less than eight seconds behind Pardo in fifth overall is the impressive Laurent Pellier, who has almost 50sec in hand over his nearest class rival as he bids to pull off a miracle and snatch the ERC4 title from under the nose of Óscar Palomo, who occupies third place in the category.

Latvia
Starts: Thursday, July 18, 2024 at 4:31:00 AM
Italy
Starts: Friday, July 26, 2024 at 7:00:00 AM
Hungary
Starts: Saturday, July 27, 2024 at 6:00:00 AM