Friday, 03 May 2024 20:06

Yoann Bonato and Mathieu Franceschi just three tenths apart

 

The fight for the victory in the 48th Rally Islas Canarias brings an intense duel between the French drivers. The one from Citroën C3 Rally2, winner in the last year’s edition, completes Friday’s session at the top of the overall classification, but by a tiny head-start over his fellow countryman, who pilots a Skoda Fabia RS Rally2. Hayden Paddon and his Hyundai i20 N Rally2 are in third place.

 

Excitement reigns at the 48th Rally Islas Canarias. Friday’s session, run on completely dry roads, ends with the first two qualified being just three-tenths of a second apart. This advantage favors Yoann Bonato and Benjamin Boulloud. The Frenchmen, defending the victory they achieved in last year’s edition, are fighting to repeat that victory over their compatriots Mathieu Franceschi and Andy Malfoy.

Alejandro Cachón and Borja Rozada, the protagonists of the morning section, starting the afternoon loop with a puncture in ‘Agüimes-Santa Lucía’. This setback cost them some significant seconds and took them from the lead they held with their Toyota GR Yaris Rally2. The French teams took advantage of this incident to climb to the top two. For now, the first place belongs to the Citroën C3 Rally2 duo.

Bonato and Boulloud managed to hold off Franceschi and Malfoy, who became increasingly confident on the asphalt, by the narrowest of margins. Behind the wheel of a Skoda Fabia RS Rally2, the second-placed in the Rally Hungary, are aiming to claim the top step of the podium and, consequently, the lead of the FIA European Rally Championship (ERC). Hayden Paddon and John Kennard, more comfortable with their Hyundai i20 N Rally2, are in third place.

Diego Ruiloba and Ángel Luis Vela are in fourth place with their Citroën C3 Rally2. The Asturians engaged in a close battle against José Antonio Suárez and Alberto Iglesias, who share the cockpit of a Skoda Fabia RS Rally2. Both are vying for the honour of being the top Spaniards in the international ranking. In sixth place is the Irish duo of Jon Armstrong and Eoin Treacy, who are surprising with their Ford Fiesta Rally2.

Nordics Mads Ostberg and Patrik Barth, still getting comfortable with a different tire brand than they used in previous seasons, will start the decisive Saturday session with their Citroën C3 Rally2 in seventh place. Just behind them is the Skoda Fabia RS Rally2 of Miko Marczyk and Szymon Gospodarczyk. Cachón and Rozada have already climbed to the ninth place, ahead of Yeray Lemes and Rogelio Peñate.

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