Team MRF Tyres secured their first-ever victory in the European Rally Championship (ERC), with Efrén Llarena and co-driver Sara Fernández winning the Azores Rallye in Portugal. The rally served as Round 2 of the 2022 ERC.
· Llarena made up 6.1 seconds in the final stage
· Placed second in overall championship
MRF wins 2022 Azores Rallye
The Azores Rallye took place in unpredictable weather, with a mix of torrential rain as well as clear skies. Just before the final day, Llarena and Fernández, driving a Skoda Fabia Rally2 Evo, were up to third overall. They soon moved up to second place, but still needed to make up around 6.1 seconds in the final stage.
The Spanish duo clinched the top podium spot from Portuguese driver Ricardo Maura at the very last stage to win the rally. They’re now second overall in the championship standings.
“It is amazing. I cannot describe the feeling of taking my first win at the European Rally Championship and the first for the Team MRF Tyres. We knew we had to push hard, and I knew if we pushed anything was possible. It is amazing how the MRF tyres performed. The tyres gave me confidence to push for the victory. I must thank everyone at Team MRF Tyres who made this possible. I am really proud to be able to bring this victory home,” said Llarena.
The Indian team’s other two driver pairs also finished in the top 10. Simone Campedelli and Tania Canton overcame technical issues to finish seventh, while Norbert Herczig and Igor Bacigál were eighth. Igor Widlak and Daniel Dymurski also finished second in the ERC3 category.
MRF in international rallying
MRF Tyres’ maiden ERC victory comes just over two years since it made its championship debut in 2020. The Indian tyre manufacturer has enjoyed a string of success in international rallying lately, with Llarena and Fernández recently also winning the opening round of the 2022 Spanish Rally Championship.
Late last year, the team also took top honours in the 2021 Italian Rally Championship-Gravel.