Efrén Llarena was the best-placed ERC-MICHELIN Talent Factory member on the 55th Azores Rallye, the Rallye Team Spain ace finishing in third overall behind outright winner Andreas Mikkelsen and runner-up Dani Sordo.
Llarena snatched a fine third on the final stage and was followed home by fifth-placed Miko Marczyk (ORLEN Team) and Rachele Somaschini, who placed P19. Erik Cais retired his Yacco ACCR Team entry from fifth overall with a broken cooler on SS9.

Afterwards, a delighted Llarena said: “We lose the podium in Roma by 0.3s and here we won it by three seconds. For sure it’s not the best way to do it, honestly I am not happy about Ricardo Moura’s crash, but we did our best.

“In the last stage we just go flat out, the grip at the rear was completely gone and we were just touching all the banks immediately when I put in the throttle. I tried to be fast but not do a mistake.

“To be on the podium with two World Rally Championship drivers is very important, they are two of the best drivers in Europe and the world and Dani is a Spaniard who has been in the world championship for 12 or 15 years. It’s our fourth race on gravel in an R5 car, we can do it better but step by step.”

ERC-MICHELIN Talent Factory: how they ranked on 55th Azores Rallye
3 Efrén Llarena (ESP)/Sara Fernández (ESP) Škoda Fabia Rally2 Evo
5 Miko Marczyk (POL/Szymon Gospodarczyk (POL) Škoda Fabia Rally2 Evo
19 Rachele Somaschini (ITA)/Nicola Arena (ITA) Citroën C3 Rally2

ERC-MICHELIN Talent Factory: how they stand after five events
2 (1) Efrén Llarena (ESP) 102 points
3 (2) Miko Marczyk (POL) 95 points
11 (3) Erik Cais (CZE) 33 points
17 (4) Simone Tempestini (ROU) 21 points
38 (5) Grégoire Munster (LUX) 3 points
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