Yoann Bonato shines through the rain in TER – Tour European Rally round 5 Rallye Antibes Côte d'Azur
Second consecutive Antibes win, Margaillan and Ciamin complete the podium
After two days of action in changing weather conditions on the challenging World Class mountain stages of the French Riviera, 4-time Franch Champion Yoann Bonato, codriven by Benjamin Boulloud on a Citroën C3 Rally2 secured back-to-back victory in Rallye Antibes. With some inspired tyre choices on an ever-changing surface, Bonato took the lead in the final test of the opening leg, then increased his advantage with four consecutive stage wins.
Fastest in the opening stages, Bonato’s team mate Hugo Margaillan could not follow the leader’s pace at times. The 2019 French Junior Champion, with Laëtitia Marsault, settled for second taking a small revenge on last year when he stopped in the final test.
Local hero Nicolas Ciamin shared a Volkswagen Polo with Yannick Roche. Overcoming some setup issues and tyre choices which cost him time on Friday, he upped his pace on Saturday, setting fastest time in the two final test and securing the third podium step.
An excellent performance for young Pierre Paul Baltolu. Codriven by Margot Dupuy, he took his Renault Clio Rally 5 to 4th in the TER – Tour European Rally standings, also securing TER Junior victory.
Italy’s Aldo Calabrini, at his maiden experience on these stages, and also discovering the Škoda Fabia R5 and new codriver Stefano Tiraboschi, closed the event in fifth place, after two days spent constantly improving his confidence and stage times. On a sister car, Germans Stefan Göttig and Michaela Alexy, took important points with sixth place, as well as three bonus points for their third participation in the 2023 TER – Tour European Rally.
In TER 2WD, Dirk Schram and Antonello Moncada’s Peugeot 208 Rally4 had the upper hand on the Renault Clio Rally4 of 3-time French Ladies’ Champion Allison Viano with Christelle Bou-Meunier, who also secure the TER Ladies Trophy in the event.
Rallye Antibes Côte d'Azur could not be completed by two top-tier contenders: 2019 TER – Tour European Rally Champion Steve Fernandes, codriven by Florian Volvert, had to retire from 5th after three Special Stages due to a mechanical failure on his Hyundai I20N Rally2, while the Škoda Fabia R5 of Germans Thomas Lorenz and Tim Rauber was sidelined after a small off on SS3.