Efrén Llarena (Espinosa de los Monteros, 1995) is one of the highest drivers values in Spain today. Since its beginnings in 2013, it has taken steps in different categories in the world of rallies. His victory at the 2019 ERC3 Junior gave him the option of competing with an R5 this year. It has the support of the Spanish Federation and a hard rhythm on any surface. Last Monday, Tramalón had the opportunity to speak to him live.
Since its beginnings with the Renault Clio Sport, car that went to Mallorca, Llarena and his team have taken the right steps to grow. His two seasons in the Suzuki Cup, with victory included in 2016, were “a turning point” for the burgilean, who has great memory: “It is the best national cup, with great prizes and good competition, stands out”.
After that, taking advantage of their extensive knowledge of mechanics, they acquired a Peugeot 208 R2, a car that has offered them their greatest joys. The first year proved “adaptive” at the 208 French Cup Rally. In 2017, the RFDEA created the R2 Beca at the right time: “At first we didn’t believe it. We had the budget very close to running here and in France”, he says.
They ran brutally in both championships, and finally won the R2 Junior Championship in Spain, not without complications: “In races like Galicia, we had to buy two wheels to finish the rally”, a fact that shows the great effort they made. In the 208 French Rally Cup they were second, very close to the glory: “We showed the great rhythm we had on any surface”, highlights Llarena.
2018 and 2019, time to ERC3 and N5 Cup
Llarena and Fernández made the leap to the European. A tough competition, “with nine or ten leading drivers in all races”. In 2018 we also saw the team with the 308 N5 inside the N5 RMC Cup. They beat her, but because of “the high level of expense due to breakdowns and a crash” they couldn`t enjoy their award with the R5. An opportunity that came to them in Madrid, with the Fiesta, proof of which holds a great memory: “An incredible car, without test, and with rhythm of best drivers”.
2019, as you all know, was “the year that has marked his career” after the ERC3 Junior championship. After the heavy accident in Poland, they left for Rome “with the right desire and pace” to continue with options. In Barum, the all-or-nothing rally, they managed to beat the championship after penalizing of Franceschi in the last stretch. Efren thanks the help provided: “Rally Team Spain, Mavisa Sport, mechanics, family, friends… We all going in the same direction”.
The challenge “of his career”
For this year, if the COVID-19 allows it, Llarena and Fernández will make a quality jump in the ERC with a first-class car, such as the Citroën C3 R5. Llarena admits that, in his first test runs with the car, “he was somewhat lost” but finally managed to catch up with rhythm and confidence. His objetive is clear: “As always, go out to win in all races, but without going crazy”. A challenge with exorbitant budgets: “A complete season with the R5 in Europe, with test, around 400,000 euros” assures the burgalese.
He is eager to start the challenge and doesn`t rule out taking part in some regional race in Spain to test the car: “Saron is a test that I love, but we should get local sponsors to run here,” he admits. The 2020 races, for the moment, are a real unknown for everyone.
Development and more rallyes with Peugeot
Another of his works is the development of the Peugeot 208 Rally4 after the call of Peugeot. “My first point of view about the machine surprised the engineers a little, but finally we “tested” from our perspective and improved the times”, claims regarding his first kilometers with the car.
Compared to the previous R2, “it enjoys better chassis and rear”, in a car capable of fighting for great things. Llarena advanced to Tramalón the idea of making several “important” races over the new 208, although for the moment they cannot be revealed by the current situation. A mixed project for this year, and perhaps the following one: “If all goes well this year, the project would also be by 2021,” he says.
We thank you from these lines for the time Efrén gave us yesterday and for your great kindness. Good luck champion! You can see the live again by clicking on the following link (in spanish). Next, on Wednesday at 19:00… Spanish Rally Champion 2016, Cristian García! Don`t miss it.