Breen: ERC Roma result exceeded expectations
Finishing fourth overall on Rally di Roma Capitale was far more than Craig Breen expected as he kicked off MRF Tyres’ FIA European Rally Championship development programme with a strong showing.
Driving a Hyundai i20 R5 for Team MRF Tyres, Breen and co-driver Paul Nagle were competitive from the outset despite the all-asphalt event marking the first time MRF Tyres’ products had been tested on a sealed-surface competition.
“I don’t think we could have expected to be so high up on literally the first rally of the programme,” said Irishman Breen, a five-time winner in the ERC. “We’re obviously really pleased but the more exciting thing is there is so much space to make [the tyre] better and better so it’s exciting for the future.
“We made gradual improvements over the weekend to learn how to get the best out of the tyre. To finish fourth is great and an absolute credit to the team. To think that this tyre barely existed a few weeks ago and to come out and be so competitive is a credit to the team. We gained a lot of valuable data on this rally.”
Breen took fourth after a close fight with Romanian champion Simone Tempestini just 1.3s behind at the finish in Fiuggi.
“I was flat out from the first run of free practice all the way to the last stage, the rhythm stayed the same through the whole rally,” said Breen. “I pushed as hard as I could from the very start and the fact Simone was around us made it more interesting. It was an enjoyable rally.”
Emil Lindholm, in the second Team MRF Tyres entry, placed P10 overall and fifth in ERC1 Junior. Visit FIAERC.com soon to find out more.