*Young talent steps up from national to international level with full RFEDA support
*#BkR2 champion gets FIA ERC Junior Under 27 Championship campaign in 2018
*Llarena: “This is a great opportunity to experience a higher level and race abroad”
Efrén Llarena will contest the FIA ERC Junior Under 27 Championship in 2018, his prize for winning the inaugural Spanish Beca Júnior R2 title.
Llarena, 22, secured the Beca Júnior R2 crown on Rally Comunidad de Madrid RACE on Saturday (25 November) and gets a full ERC Junior Under 27 campaign as the first beneficiary of an exciting alliance between Spain’s motorsport federation, RFEDA, and ERC promoter Eurosport Events. And with the 2018 ERC Junior U27 champion receiving a career progression fund to step up to ERC Junior Under 28 in 2019, Llarena could be driving a top-of-the-range R5 car within two years.
“I’m very happy with the prize and how I have developed this season,” said Llarena, who was co-driven by Sara Fernández. “We don’t have great resources and we are here because many friends have supported us. Now we have a great opportunity to show our capability at a higher level and go abroad to race. I thank my federation – there should be more projects like this.”
The partnership between RFEDA and Eurosport Events has been in place since March to coincide with the launch of Beca Júnior R2 (#BkR2), a six-event series on gravel and asphalt instigated by Manuel Aviñó, the President of RFEDA, one of a number of national motorsport federations actively supporting programmes in the ERC. Others include ADAC (Germany), ACCR (Czech Republic) and EASU (Estonia).
“BkR2 is an ambitious project developed by our federation, in order to promote the participation of young drivers and give to them the chance of showing their talent,” explained Aviñó. “It has been the first step of our global promotional project Rally Team Spain. The prize of a season of racing in the ERC couldn't be more interesting, as it’s one of the most prestigious rally championships in the world. We are really proud of having Eurosport Events as partner in this great project, which will be bigger next year with the participation of Efrén Llarena in ERC, as the BkR2 winner, and with the new step we’ve just launched in collaboration with the Suzuki Swift Cup. I'd like to congratulate Efrén Llarena and Sara Fernández for the perfect season they've done and for being the first winners of this project.”
Jean-Baptiste Ley, the ERC Co-ordinator, said: “Congratulations to Efrén Llarena on this fantastic achievement and our grateful thanks to Manuel Aviñó and his team at RFEDA for their support of this vital initiative to give a talented young driver the opportunity to step up from national to international level. Efrén has impressed with his performances and approach in and out of the car this season and we know he’ll be a great asset to ERC Junior Under 27 in 2018.”
Javier Pardo Siota also challenged for the #BkR2 title and combined his competitive outings with an ERC Junior Experience training course, which provided guidance in a number of areas including car set-up, social media dos and don’ts, sponsorship acquisition, stage safety and car extraction and physical fitness. Other #BkR2 competitors included Daniel Berdomás, Roberto Blach, Antón Muiños and Jan Solans.
The 2018 ERC Junior Under 27 Championship will total six events on gravel and asphalt.