Sat 12 Mar 2022

Llarena hits trouble in Fafe

Efrén Llarena’s bid to win Rally Serras de Fafe - Felgueiras - Cabreira e Boticas is over almost before it had begun after a troubled start to round one of the 2022 FIA European Rally Championship.

The Spaniard, 26, was forced to drive slowly through Saturday’s opening Cabeceiras de Baso test with damage to the front of his Team MRF Tyres-entered Skoda Fabia Rally2 Evo. 

He reported a problem with his car’s radiator at the stage finish with confirmation afterwards that the former Junior ERC champion hit a rock lying in a rut on the challenging 10.84-kilometre SS2.

Despite earlier reports that Llarena and co-driver Sara Fernández, the 2021 ERC title-winning navigator, had retired from the first leg, extensive repair work by the pair enabled them to start SS3, albeit 12 minutes behind schedule. They are more than five minutes behind leaders Nil Solans and Marc Martí in the exact same car they crashed down a hillside in treacherous conditions on this event last season.

Llarena’s SS2 woes continue a frustrating start to his 2022 ERC campaign, his first with Team MRF Tyres, after a handbrake issue slowed him on Friday night’s Fafe Super Special Stage.

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