Llarena three stages from ERC3 Cyprus win
Efrén Llarena strengthened his Cyprus Rally lead in the FIA European Rally Championship’s ERC3 category with two stage wins on Sunday morning, further extending his margin over Erik Cais.
Llarena, who is making his debut with Peugeot Rally Academy this weekend as a reward for his form with Rallye Team Spain earlier in the season, won the two long stages to gain 25.6s over Cais (ACCR Czech Rally Team).
“We tried to be clean, not to do mistakes,” said Llarena. “On the second stage we had some overheating with the brakes but the time was not so bad. After that, we tried to manage the situation to avoid mistakes, so that’s the plan for the next loop.”
Cais took a stage win on the shorter loop-ending Asinou test but only reclaimed 0.6s, with Llarena’s lead now at 1m14.3s.
It was a marked improvement from leg one, which featured a confidence-sapping spin early on Saturday. A much happier Cais found leg two’s stages “great fun” with a “great feeling”.
Orhan Avcioğlu (Toksport WRT) unexpectedly found himself in a battle to keep third place against Florian Bernardi, as a one minute penalty for a technical infringement meant Avcioğlu started leg two only 0.4s ahead of the Frenchman.
He quickly pulled away, however, building a gap of over a minute across the morning loop’s three stages.
Fifth-placed Constantinos Televantos (Q8 Oils Rally Team) faced an unusual problem during his morning run. He caught one of the privateer Group-N specification Subaru Imprezas not registered for ERC points on the first two stages of the loop, though his comfortable time gap to sixth place meant his top five remains secure.
Ekaterina Stratieva (Saintéloc Junior Team) is on course for a crucial ERC Ladies victory in sixth place, which would give her enough points to keep the title fight alive to the final round of the season, Rally Hungary. She has a sizeable lead over Litsa Yiangou (Yiangou Motorsport Ltd), who is driving a Subaru Impreza STI.