Leg 2: Yoann Bonato shines in his C2-R2 The tricky roads of Finland did not smile on all the C2 Junior Experience competitors today. Nine stages were planned, including two runs through the famous Ouninpohja test one of the most difficult stages...
Leg 2: Yoann Bonato shines in his C2-R2
The tricky roads of Finland did not smile on all the C2 Junior Experience competitors today. Nine stages were planned, including two runs through the famous Ouninpohja test one of the most difficult stages of the year.
One of the biggest talking points of the second leg was the retirement of the two Super 1600 C2s driven by Martin Prokop and Aaron Burkart. The insidious Finnish stages had the final word, with Prokop retiring on the second stage of the day. The young Czech went off and broke his radiator : while he managed to get back to service he will be taking no further part in the action.
Aaron Burkart suffered a similar fate on SS15 following a heavy landing after a jump. The only Super 1600 C2 left in the fight was Conrad Rautenbach, who finished the leg with a broken brake hose after a small impact and a puncture. This meant that he lost time over the last few stages, and he is now seventh at the end of the second leg.
The young Yoann Bonato still dominates the C2-R2 despite his lack of gravel experience (in fact, he has only completed one national event on gravel). The Frenchman enjoyed himself over the 186.10 kilometres scheduled for today, which he described as " fantastic, but more difficult than those of yesterday. " During the last few sections he had a bit of difficulty engaging gears, which nonetheless did not hold back his progress too much. He ends tonight's leg classified ninth amongst the Juniors. Just behind him is the Belgian Raphael Auquier. The Kronos Junior team driver went off briefly in the morning, but drove sensibly to the end of the leg to end the day 10th in the Junior classification. Shaun Gallagher felt more at ease on the Finnish stages than he did yesterday, completing the leading C2 trio. He too had a few scares over the super fast jumps, but with more confidence now he ends the leg just 23.5 seconds slower than Auquier. Stefano Benoni brings up the rear of the field an dis classified 15th.
Raphael Auquier (BE)
Co-driver Cedric Pirotte (BE)
"We're very pleased to be here this evening. It was a very difficult rally with several tricky places. Our goal is to stay consistent, so we're not pushing to the limit in order to avoid making mistakes. We're happy to be in front of Shaun Gallagher this evening. We feel comfortable with our notes, so we hope to continue tomorrow."
Yoann Bonato (FR)
Co-driver Benjamin Boulloud (FR)
"During the last four stages, I had a few difficulties changing gear. The gearshift became very sticky and it sometimes felt impossible to change. Nonetheless, I had a lot of fun just like yesterday. Ouninpohja is maybe the most difficult stage, but it's also my favourite."
Aaron Burkart (DE)
Co-driver Michael Kolbach (DE)
(Citroen C2 Super 1600)
"The first stage of the day started well for me, but I lost a lot of time afterwards with a puncture on SS14. On the following stage, I was caught out when I landed after a jump, which broke the radiator. Then I lost all the coolant and I had to retire. I hope to start again under the SupeRally system tomorrow."
Stefano Benoni (IT)
Co-driver Enrico Cantoni (IT)
"The car was good throughout the leg. We lost a minute with a small impact on the first stage, but it didn't really affect our position. We know that we're a long way behind after all the time we lost yesterday, so we're just driving carefully. The stages are very difficult for a young driver like me, so we have to be extra cautious here which is not always easy."
Shaun Gallagher (EI)
Co-driver Clive Jenkins (GB)
"I feel more comfortable today than I did yesterday. The stages are difficult, but also different. I had a bit of a scare over some of the jumps but on the whole everything went well. I'm still being careful just to keep the car on the road and I want to stay at this pace for the stages tomorrow."
Martin Prokop (CZ)
Co-driver Jan Tomanek (CZ)
(Citroen C2 Super 1600)
"Everything went well on the first stage this morning. But in Ouninpohja I didn't stick exactly to the notes that were being called out to be and the car spun into some rocks. We got going straight away and at first we didn't notice that the radiator was broken. This caused the coolant to leak out and our rally was over. It's a real disappointment as we could have won I think."
Conrad Rautenbach (ZW)
Co-driver David Senior (GB)
(Citroen C2 Super 1600)
"I'm very disappointed by the punctures and the cons equent brake problems we had at the end of the leg. I lost a huge amount of time, going from second to seventh. I am going to try and attack again tomorrow to get back onto the sharp end of the Leaderboard, but it's never easy to step up a gear on these tricky Finnish stages..."
Gilles Schammel (LU)
Renaud Jamoul (BE)
"I decided to retire, simply to look after my C2-R2. If I had pushed on, I would have needed to go at the maximum in order to make up the lost time and that's simply not possible for me here. The smallest mistake can have serious consequences, and I didn't want to take those risks. The Rallye Deutschland will be a better opportunity for me, as I feel more comfortable on asphalt."