Yoann Bonato last took part on an FIA European Rally Championship event 15 years ago. On Rally Fafe Montelongo yesterday, the two-time French Tarmac champion came within 4.6s of victory in his Michelin-equipped Citroën C3 R5.
Engaged in a thrilling battle for position with Iván Ares, Bonato started the final stage as one of three drivers in contention for victory long-term leader Alexey Lukyanuk was delayed by a spin on the penultimate stage.
Although Ares went quicker by 0.8s on the final run, it wasn’t enough with Bonato holding to finish second behind Lukyanuk by 0.1s.
“It was a really perfect weekend, really difficult as well but I’m really proud of my team and with our performance because it was very tricky with the weather,” said Bonato. “It’s a good result.”
In his efforts to beat Ares and even win the rally outright, Bonato went on an all-out attack on the final stage, sliding into a barrier exiting a right-hander at one point. The moment was captured by the ERC’s camera in the sky as part of the live coverage on Facebook and YouTube.
“I think Alexey was faster than us all weekend,” Bonato said. “But on the last one we pushed as maximum as possible and we touched a little bit the protection.”