Breen’s ERC double mission
The ace Irishman, a five-time winner in the FIA European […]
The ace Irishman, a five-time winner in the FIA European Rally Championship prior to his step up to the global stage, is contesting the upcoming ORLEN 77th Rally Poland and Rally Liepāja for Team MRF Tyres in a Hyundai i20 R5 as part of his ERC campaign.
Although his role is primarily to contribute his experience and expertise to the MRF Tyres’ development programme, Breen insists he’s not just intent on gathering data for the company, the first from India to enter top-line rallying.
“We’ll do the best result possible and, of course, it’s our aim to get better and better,” said Breen, who will be co-driven by Paul Nagle. “We are definitely targeting podiums. But, like last year, it’s a learning exercise for MRF Tyres and the continued development. The most important thing for me is to give the guys and girls at MRF more information, more data so they can continue to improve. Obviously if we can get a good result along the way then it all helps but it’s interesting the development role, it’s completely different to anything I’ve done before. I enjoy the testing, it’s great to give my input to see how the whole thing progresses and it’s quite clear there has been big progress during the last year.”
Breen made his Rally Poland debut on the rain-affected 2013 ERC event. He’s also contested the event when it’s run in the World Rally Championship.
“It’s an event I’ve done a few times before but the route we’re using this year I actually haven’t done a huge amount of it,” said Breen, who is contesting a partial world championship campaign with Hyundai Motorsport in 2021 alongside his commitments to Team MRF Tyres in the ERC. “Obviously the weather has been quite tricky there every time I have done it before and the profile of the roads can change dramatically based on the weather. But, all in all, it’s a nice rally on very fast roads and it’s enjoyable I have to say.”
All ERC priority drivers contesting ORLEN 77th Rally Poland are permitted to take part on the Qualifying Stage this Friday with the fastest 15 earning the right to choose their starting order for leg one and potentially select the most advantageous road position possible.
“Like always [road position] is important but it’s difficult to know how much road clearing there will be, depending on how the weather has been for the last couple of weeks determines how soft or how hard the road is,” said Breen. “If the road is hard with loose gravel on top there will obviously be a quite big road cleaning effect. Qualifying will be important and it’s been a while since I’ve done one because the format is obviously different in the European championship compared to the world championship.
“Dust can also be a factor but it depends on the profile of the stages. If they’re not in the forest and out in the open dust shouldn’t be a big issue but you can pick up some dusty places if the weather is dry. If you have a choice for the road position you’ll try to start as far back as you can, that’s going to be the key thing.”
The 100th anniversary Rally Poland is Breen’s first gravel outing in a Rally2 car since Rally Liepāja in August 2020. His last event on gravel was Rally Estonia the following month.