Sat 21 Oct 2023

Remembering when… RallyRACC hosted the ERC

Twelve months ago, RallyRACC Catalunya - Costa Daurada, the 58th edition of which concludes later today (Saturday), hosted the 2022 FIA European Rally Championship finale.

Yoann Bonato and Benjamin Boulloud came out on top in their Michelin-equipped Citroën C3 Rally2, but that didn’t tell the full story as Efrén Llarena and Sara Fernández celebrated their ERC title success for Team MRF Tyres with a high-speed lap of honour.  

Although Llarena set the pace on the opening stage, once Bonato settled into his stride, there was no stopping him. The Frenchman – an ERC podium-finisher in Gran Canaria and Rome – posted the fastest time on seven of the event’s 12 stages, with two cancelled due to red flag stoppages further up the order.

After pacing himself through the points-paying El Montmell 2 Power Stage – the longest of the rally at 24.18km – Bonato ultimately wound up 13.8sec clear of Llarena, the duo comfortably the class of the field as the ERC celebrated a seventh different winner from eight events in 2022.  

Not only that, but the Citröen ace’s breakthrough triumph and hefty points haul was sufficient to vault him from ninth in the championship standings up to third – an impressive performance, having only entered half of the season’s events.  

“Unbelievable!” he exclaimed afterwards. “I’m so happy. There are so many people to thank for this win, from my team to my co-driver and Michelin, who gave us perfect tyres here. An amazing result.”

Llarena was never far away from Bonato’s pace but equally never quite close enough to challenge, obliging the Spaniard to settle for second place – his fourth podium of the campaign – in front of his home crowd, grabbing five bonus points courtesy of a big Power Stage push.  

Team-mate and countryman Javier Pardo rounded out the rostrum in third, with the Spaniard’s first top three finish of 2022 elevating him to the runner-up spot in the final championship standings.

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