RallyRACC Catalunya – Costa Daurada hosted the penultimate round of the World Rally Championship and the final European Championship event of the season.
Two separate rallies, in terms of conditions, that provided yet further confirmation of the performance level of C3 Rally2, with overall victory in the ERC secured by Bonato and Boulloud whilst Rossel and Dunand finished as runners-up in the WRC2.
The two-wheel drive cars equally stood out this weekend with the impressive performances of Laurent Pellier – Marine Pelamourgue in the Corsa Rally4 and Oscar Palomo-Ortiz and Luis Vela Angel, ERC4 newly crowned champions with the 208 Rally4.
- After becoming an all-tarmac event again last year, RallyRACC Catalunya – Costa Daurada played host to drivers from both the World Championship and European Championship for the first time in many years. Five C3 Rally2s featured in Spain: Yohan Rossel-Arnaud Dunand, Jan Solans-Rodrigo Sanjuan de Eusebio, Alejandro Cacho-”Jandrin” and Patrick Dejean-Yannick Jammes were all competing in the WRC2 class, whilst Yoann Bonato and Benjamin Boulloud were aiming to fight at the front in the ERC. All the Stellantis Motorsport crews produced impressive performances, in both the Rally2 and Rally4 classes.
- Defending WRC3 champion and winner of two events plus a third podium this season, Yohan Rossel – alongside co-driver par Arnaud Dunand – was making his first appearance on the Costa Daurada stages. As is invariably the case, Rossel made the most of the potential of his C3 Rally2 to quickly adapt to the as Spanish tarmac, whilst nonetheless paying close attention to the increasingly changeable conditions. Showing good speed on the opening leg, Rossel maintained a strong rhythm on day two to move up into second place, winning two consecutive stages in the process. Consistent and quick, Rossel went on to claim a fourth podium in the WRC2 this season, his runner-up position boosting his confidence as he prepares for his WRC2 programme in 2023.
- Monitored closely by Citroën Racing, Alejandro Cachon – alongside his co-driver “Jandrin” – was quickly able to match the pace of the leading crews in the WRC2. Despite his limited experience in a four-wheel drive car, the young Spaniard was regularly among the top five on the stages, including a second-fastest time on SS5. Already blessed with real speed even though he still learning about rallying at this level, Cachon was unfortunately caught out by the conditions at the end of the first leg. He rejoined under “New Rally” rules and displayed encouraging potential, recording another second-fastest stage time on SS16. Having impressed with two consecutive wins in the Spanish Super Championship, Cachon has now pronounced his arrival on the international scene. Also competing in Catalonia to prepare for their 2023 season, Jan Solans and co-driver Rodrigo San Juan de Eusebio showed their determination throughout the rally in the C3 Rally2, fighting back to finish ninth in class despite losing quite a bit of time early in the event, particularly in the tricky conditions on SS3.
- Regular participants in European rallies, Patrick Dejean and Yannick Jammes were nonetheless making their debut at RallyRACC Catalunya – Costa Daurada. The French crew chose the Spanish tarmac to discover C3 Rally2 for the first time. Caught by the demanding opening leg, the crew worked on various aspects of the set-up of the C3 Rally2 to improve the handling for more consistency, a strategy that followed them to the end of the rally. They crossed the WRC2 podium on Sunday on the Mediterranean coast after gradually getting to grips with the conditions.
- Yoann Bonato and Benjamin Boulloud, recent winners of three French Rally Championship events in the C3 Rally2, made no secret of their ambitions coming into the Costa Daurada event. The C3 Rally2 crew took advantage of the competitiveness of their Michelin tyres in the changeable conditions on day one to move into the overall lead of the ERC. On Saturday’s leg, with the stages developing increasingly significant cuts on the corners, Bonato and Boulloud made full use of the efficiency of the C3 Rally2 to win their first ERC rally, thus making it four wins in four outings. They will be tackling the iconic Critérium des Cévennes full of confidence next weekend on their return to the French Championship.
- Having already secured the ERC Junior title, Laurent Pellier, alongside co-driver Marine Pelamourgue, was nonetheless determined to finish his season on a high. The Opel Corsa Rally4 driver enjoyed a flawless weekend to top the Junior class, even finishing in the top five of the ERC overall standings, amidst a host of four-wheel drive cars. A first-class performance that also reflects the qualities of his car. Despite finishing just outside the podium places in the RC4 class in their Peugeot 208 Rally4, Oscar Palomo-Ortiz and Luis Vela Angel scored enough points to be crowned European ERC4 champion.
- RallyRACC Catalunya – Costa Daurada also hosted the final round of the Peugeot Rally Cup Iberica. Thanks to a fourth podium of the season in the 208 Rally4, Diego Ruiloba won the Peugeot Rally Cup Iberica.
WHAT THEY SAID…
Yohan Rossel, Runner-up in the WRC2 class at RallyRACC Catalunya – Costa Daurada – Citroën C3 Rally2
“This was our debut appearance at this rally and we knew that it would be a close fight. Nevertheless, we know what kind of performance level to expect on tarmac in the C3 Rally2 and so we were aiming high. We have fought hard all season to win and we’ve shown that we have the speed to keep pace with the very best drivers, even on the most competitive rallies. In WRC2, you have to have perfect rallies to win the title, something we managed to do in Croatia and Portugal. This weekend, we had to deal with a puncture at the start of the rally. We then managed to find the right set-up and ended up on the second step of the podium. We still had a good weekend. I have confirmed a WRC2 programme in 2023 with Citroën Racing and the C3 Rally2. What we have learned this season will therefore be very important.”
Yoann Bonato, ERC winner at RallyRACC Catalunya – Costa Daurada – Citroën C3 Rally2
“After three consecutive wins in the French Championship and our strong performances in the ERC, together with my partners, we decided to take part in this tarmac event, reputed for being quite hard on the cars and their tyres. The C3 Rally2-Michelin package meant we tackled the stages full of confidence. The road was very dirty after the WRC drivers had completed the stages, so our good set-up helped us to express ourselves to the fullest and beat the newly-crowned 2022 ERC Champion. We have already had the pleasure of winning a rally in the WRC2 class, but this was our first ERC win. It’s always nice to win international level competitions. In the end, we have had a very good season with the C3 Rally2 since we have had three consecutive wins, and five wins overall, plus two podiums in the ERC. These results have made me motivated to contest more rounds of the ERC so I’m going to see if we can put something together.”
Laurent Pellier, ERC4 and ERC4 Junior class winner at RallyRACC Catalunya – Costa Daurada – Opel Corsa Rally4
“I was immediately comfortable in the Corsa Rally4 on these incisive stages. The Opel is the perfect size for these roads and I was able to match the times of some of the Rally2 cars, which in principle are a lot faster. Finishing fifth at an ERC event in a two-wheel car is beyond my wildest dreams, especially given the tricky weather at the start of the rally. I’ve had magical season. I’ve always been in the fight to win races, be it in the Corsa Rally4 or the Corsa e-Rally. I’ve made a lot of progress with these cars. I would also like to congratulate Timo Schulz, who has just won the Opel e-Rally Cup and wish him the very best for his 2023 programme with Opel.”
Oscar Palomo-Ortiz, ERC4 champion – Peugeot 208 Rally4
“I’m proud to secure the ERC4 title. I’m the first Spanish driver to win this championship in their debut season. I would like to express my heartfelt thanks to all the people who have supported me in this programme. We have worked hard to obtain this result. This weekend, the rally was very difficult. With so much dirt pulled onto the stages, you had to keep to the right lines to stay on the road. We found the right set-up on the 208 Rally4 and that helped me get a good feeling in the car. I’m now fully focussed on my 2023 programme.”
Didier Clément, Head of Customer Racing, Stellantis Motorsport
“Citroën Racing impressed consistently this weekend in Catalonia, confirming the added value and the performance level of cars from the Stellantis Motorsport catalogue. The results of the crews competing with the C3 Rally2, the Corsa Rally4 and the 208 Rally4 reflect our strong teamwork, driven by the desire to obtain performance and wins. Yohan Rossel was very consistent, Alejandro Cachon impressed and Yoann Bonato was a clear winner in the ERC, whilst the Rally4 drivers in the ERC4 completely dominated their class this weekend. We were impressive at all levels. It’s a strong all-round result that shows the strength in-depth of Stellantis Motorsport in rallying. Lastly, a word on Patrick Dejean’s debut in the C3 Rally2 at this round. Our mission also involves giving up-and-coming amateurs like him the chance to enjoy events like this. Stellantis Motorsport has designed cars that are able to challenge for wins in their respective categories and provide enjoyment, regardless of the level of the driver behind the wheel. The results this weekend highlights once again the expertise we have when it comes to rallying. We are all ready for and looking forward to the challenges ahead in 2023.”