Tue 08 Mar 2022

First female ERC champion co-driver Fernandez calls for more opportunities for women

Sara Fernández, the first woman to win the FIA European Rally Championship for Co-Drivers, is using International Women’s Day to highlight the need for more opportunities for females to compete beyond national level.

Fernández achieved her title success in last season’s ERC and will be aiming to make it back-to-back championship wins when she and driver Efrén Llarena begin their European campaign for Team MRF Tyres on this week’s Rally Serras de Fafe - Felgueiras - Cabreira e Boticas.

“I was the first woman to win the Co-Drivers’ title in ERC history, which was a big step for all new generations of female drivers and co-drivers,” said the Spanish co-driver. “Currently there are many women in small or national championships, but when you go up to international level there are very few women competing to win championships. But we are earning the respect of the teams and women are prepared to compete at the highest level.”

She continued: “I’m glad to see that there are more and more girls in karting, which is the base of the pyramid of motorsports, and families support girls who want to compete, leaving behind stereotypes and prejudices. Without the support of families and sponsors it is difficult for girls to get into motorsport.”

Fernández’s achievements in 2021 were not lost on Andreas Mikkelsen, who beat Llarena to the FIA European Rally Championship for Drivers.

“What she did last year was a great achievement and she gets a lot of respect from me,” said Mikkelsen. “The level of the ERC last year was really, really high so to go in there to do well on a lot of difficult rallies in difficult conditions is impressive and she played an amazing part in Efrén’s performances last year.”

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