Fernández co-drove Efrén Llarena to first place on last month’s Azores Rallye, which was settled on a thrilling event-closing Power Stage by a slender margin of 2.7 seconds.
It was the Spanish pair’s maiden ERC victory and followed on from Fernández becoming the first woman to win the FIA European Rally Championship for Co-Drivers in 2021.
Reflecting on her triumph, the 36-year-old said: “Last year I won a title but I never won a rally and when you win the absolute rally it’s very special and fantastic. It’s also very important for FIA Women in Motorsport because we now see women are in all motorsport like karting, circuit, rallies. Before it was not like this but now it’s changing and [this victory] proves what women can achieve.”
Azores Rallye 2022: Event Recap
Fernández’s Azores Rallye victory was the second high-profile success by a female co-driver in 2022 following on from Isabelle Galmiche partnering Sébastien Loeb to victory on the FIA World Rally Championship-counting Rallye Monte-Carlo in January.
“To get this far, to be successful, the most important is to go step by step,” Fernández said. “In my case I did promotional cups, then national rallies and now the European championship. I am very happy for me, our team, for MRF Tyres, the engineers, the mechanics and of course Efrén, it’s a good job by everyone.”
Fernández and Llarena started the Azores Rallye Power Stage 6.1s behind local hero Ricardo Moura and António Costa but came out on top after going 8.8s faster than their rivals.
“Before the stage we knew it would be very difficult in a small stage to take the seconds like we did,” Fernández said. “Efrén and I are very competitive with the helmet on and we only wanted to win but I don’t have words to explain how difficult the rally was with the fog and the rain. It was incredible.”
Fernández and Llarena will be back on ERC duty when the 2022 title race resumes at Rally Islas Canarias from (12 - 14 May).