Peugeot Rally Academy opportunity for Llarena gives co-driver Fernandez ERC3 title chance
Efrén Llarena’s co-driver Sara Fernández will get the opportunity to push for the FIA European Rally Championship’s ERC3 Co-Drivers’ title following the Peugeot Rally Academy’s decision to enter them on the upcoming Cyprus Rally.
With Fernández co-driving, Llarena won the Pirelli-supported FIA ERC3 Junior Championship subject to confirmation of the results by the governing body. However, with no co-driver title awarded in the young-driver class, Fernández feared she would miss out on title silverware this year, assuming the Spanish pair’s current ERC3 points total is surpassed during the two remaining rounds, which are not part of the ERC3 Junior schedule.
However, Llarena and Fernández will now transfer from the leading Spanish Mavisa Sport team to the Saintéloc Racing-run Peugeot Rally Academy for the Cyprus Rally, a mainly gravel event based in Nicosia from 27-29 September and the penultimate round of the 2019 ERC season.
Fernández, 11 points in front of Kauri Pannas in the ERC3 Co-Drivers’ standings after six rounds, said: “My job was to co-drive Efrén to the ERC3 Junior title. With that mission accomplished subject to the results being confirmed, I really wanted to get my own trophy. Thanks to the Peugeot Rally Academy I now have that opportunity, so I thank them for the trust.”
Llarena, who has been supported by Spanish federation RFEDA’s Rallye Team Spain initiative since winning his country’s Junior R2 title in 2017, added: “Firstly I am really grateful to the Peugeot Rally Academy for this fantastic opportunity to represent it on the Cyprus Rally and to build my experience on what I know will be a very demanding event. I am also really pleased for Sara. I have achieved my objective for this season, but Sara has worked so hard and deserves to be recognised for her outstanding ability as a co-driver. I will do all I can to repay Peugeot Rally Academy for the faith it has shown in us and to help Sara win the ERC3 Co-Drivers’ title.”
Spanish pair rewarded for ERC3 Junior success*
Peugeot Rally Academy head Laurent Guyot has explained why he has selected Efrén Llarena and Sara Fernández to represent the long-standing talent platform on the Cyprus Rally.
“We have followed Efrén and Sara’s progress driving the Peugeot 208 R2 for several seasons and we were very impressed with their performances, particularly this year,” said Guyot. “We wanted to recognise this and their potential by giving them the opportunity to represent the Peugeot Rally Academy and to chase the prestigious FIA ERC3 title. The Cyprus Rally is a demanding event on tough stages and in hot temperatures. It will be a great test for them.”
Neither Ken Torn/Kauri Pannas and Sindre Furuseth/Jim Hjerpe are set to compete in Cyprus, which hands the ERC3 title initiative to Llarena and Fernández.
*Subject to confirmation of the results by the FIA