After winning the crown, now it’s time to defend it. Efrén Llarena and Sara Fernández begin this weekend in Fafe (Portugal) the defense of the title of European champions achieved last year. The Spanish couple repeats in the continental competition, which this year has been joined by two World Cup riders: Hayden Paddon and Mads Ostberg.
In Fafe it all began a year ago, a test in which another Spaniard won, Nil Solans, who will not be at the Portuguese event this time. But there will be big names, as in addition to Paddon and Ostberg, another WRC driver like Craig Breen will also be competing. Therefore, Llarena will have strong competition at the event where he debuts his new Skoda Fabia Rally2.
Luck was not on his side last year. since he broke the radiator in a rut and could only climb up to eleventh position. This time he starts with the number 1 after having tested his new mechanics on the ground for two days, and with the aim of maintaining his European reign for one more season.
The Fafe Rally starts on Friday with the qualifying section and the initial superspecial, to go on Saturday and Sunday to cover the rest of the sections, some of them well known in the World Championship. The forecast is for rain all weekend, so it is foreseeable that the mud presides over the test as it happened in 2022.