Fri 23 Feb 2024

ERC Take Five with Yoann Bonato

Two-time FIA European Rally Championship event winner Yoann Bonato is back to chase more ERC success in 2024 alongside co-driver Benjamin Boulloud. While Bonato’s Citroën C3 Rally2 is a known quantity, his switch to Trajectus Motorsport signals the start of a new adventure for the 40-year-old Frenchman.

You’ve joined a new team for 2024 in Trajectus Motorsport. How did the deal come together?
“It’s a completely new team for me. Benoît Tréluyer is a very famous racing driver who started to make his team for the circuits. At the beginning when I called him to see if he was available to do a rally team he said ‘no’. But when I explained the situation and the target he said ‘yes, we can do it’. I know him for a long time and we are really good friends so it’s a good human adventure to do it together.”

While it’s a familiar car, the colours are a little different. What’s the story behind the revamped look?
“The car looks like the old Citroën Xsara WRC with the same blue and red, the white band at the front and the yellow, orange and white close to the windscreens. It was with this car that Citroën took its first WRC victory [in 2001] and these colours were first used 21 years ago. The Xsara is a special car for the history of Citroën. The chicken on the side? Well, that’s the symbol of Igol and France.”

We’ve seen you wearing football shirts in a few videos. Are you a fan?
“My sponsor Igol is also the sponsor of a team, Amiens. It was in Ligue 1 but now it’s in Ligue 2. They give me a shirt when I give the first pass during a match.”  

You’re due to tackle three rounds of the ERC in 2024. Why have you selected Canarias, Roma and Silesia?
“I choose these rallies mainly because they are the ones that are compatible with the French championship calendar even though I expected to do more at the beginning. But for sure we really wanted to do Canarias [after winning last year] and also Roma, because if it’s possible to win one time this rally I want to try. The rally in Poland [Rally Silesia] is a new one so why not?”

After coming so close to a Rally di Roma Capitale podium last season, was getting a revenge behind your decision to return to that event?
“It was not for the revenge, but for my objective. The level in Italy is quite high like in France, the drivers and the cars and the teams are really good and it will be a good result if we can win in Roma, a nice reference in the ERC on Tarmac.”   

Car reveal photos:

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