Sat 04 May 2024

Bonato remains in front in the ERC with three Canarias stages remaining

Yoann Bonato continues to lead Rally Islas Canarias as his bid for a third FIA European Rally Championship victory remains on course with three stages left to run in the heat of Gran Canaria.

Leading by 0.3sec starting leg two, Bonato initially looked like he would lose first place to Franceschi when his younger compatriot posted a faster split time earlier in SS8. But Bonato was ahead at the finish to edge ahead in the overall classification by 1.6sec aboard his Michelin-equipped Citroën C3 Rally2.


And it got better for Bonato on SS9, the 27.70km Moya - Valleseco stage, which he competed 2.6sec faster than his rivals to take an advantage of 4.2sec heading into the final stage of Saturday morning’s three-stage loop.


Although he could only manage the third fastest time on the Power Stage rehearsal, the 11.50km San Mateo - Valsequillo run, Bonato’s lead is 6.9sec heading to service at the Estadio Gran Canaria.

“We take a lot of fun and we continue like that, the car is perfect, the team works well. It’s a good morning for us,” Bonato said.


Mathieu Franceschi holds a strong second in his pursuit for back-to-back ERC podiums. The Michelin-equipped Škoda Fabia RS Rally2 driver said: “For sure we don’t want to take any risk to win this rally because the championship is so long.”


Fifth overnight, José Antonio Suárez has been on a charge this morning in his efforts to secure maximum Spanish championship points. He demoted closest challenger Diego Ruiloba on SS9, despite spinning at the roundabout early in the stage, but was beaten by Ruiloba through SS10 after Ruiloba went quickest of all. It means he falls back to fifth heading into the afternoon loop.

Hayden Paddon reported bouts of understeer on SS8 and SS9 in his Pirelli-equipped Hyundai i20 N Rally2. The 2023 ERC champion holds third but his advantage over Ruiloba has been cut to 2.0sec.


After tyre damage dropped him out of the lead on day one, Alejandro Cachón has fought his way back to sixth, 5.2sec behind Suárez. Jon Armstrong, Miko Marczyk, Mads Østberg and Yeray Lemes complete the overall top 10.


The repeat of the 9.41km Arucas - Firgas is up next from 14:07.

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