The rising French star suffered an early setback when he spun on the opening stage and couldn’t restart the engine of his Peugeot Sport 207 Super 2000 for several minutes. But he hit back in style by setting the fastest time of all on stage eight and running in the top 10 on the final afternoon.
However, his challenge ended when he was excluded for working on his car in a time control, which is against the regulations.
“The rally was a fantastic learning exercise for us,” said Bonnefis. “We take several positives away with us from the weekend and we learnt so much. Just after the start of stage nine I hit a rock and punctured my two left-hand side tyres. The impact also bent my rear suspension. As we were preparing to start the next stage, I realised that the front-right rim was damaged, as well, so I had no other choice than to put that wheel on another corner of the car, which the marshals obviously saw.”
Of his delay on stage one, the 25-year-old initially thought his delay was the result of a fuel pressure glitch. However, it has since transpired that he inadvertently switched off the fuel pump and was unable to re-start his car’s engine after being unsettled by his spin. The delay dropped him to 33rd overall and 7m22s adrift of early leader Sepp Wiegand.