Tue 14 Feb 2023

Linnamäe plots Fafe ERC mission with an eye fixed on Breen

Georg Linnamäe is preparing to return to the scene of one of his greatest drives when he contests the FIA European Rally Championship season-opening Rally Serras de Fafe next month with Craig Breen among several key rivals.

Co-driven by James Morgan, Linnamäe clocked up three stage wins and ran second overall for much of the ERC rally last March before a late tyre issue left him third at the finish.

But he has now confirmed plans to return to the gravel event in northern Portugal, only this time he will be armed with his new-for-2023 Hyundai i20 N Rally2 run by the Estonian RedGrey Team.

“The main purpose is to get ready for Rally de Portugal and we might have one or two more ERC events planned to serve as a warm-up for the WRC events [I am doing],” Linnamäe said. “The [Fafe] stages are quite similar, and some are the same so it’s a good opportunity to get some set-ups, a free Rally de Portugal before Rally de Portugal.”

In terms of emulating his 2022 performance in Fafe, the 24-year-old from Estonia is keeping his expectations in check.

“I need to keep in my mind I have a new car, which I haven’t had a chance to properly drive on gravel yet,” he said. “It’s also our first year with the new team and we’re still getting to know everyone so we’re not putting too much pressure on ourselves to get a very good result. But for sure if the conditions are right, I’d love to fight for a win.

“The ERC is strong and it’s interesting for the ERC drivers to compare with the WRC drivers and the other way around. It will be a challenge [to beat Breen] for sure. If I manage to beat him, I will be very happy but I’m not getting my hopes too up.”

Of his upcoming Fafe appearance, Breen, who will drive a Hyundai i20 N Rally2 for Team Hyundai Portugal, said: “It’s something I’m really looking forward to it’s a nice team with a lot of friends, it’s just about enjoying it.”

Starts: Thursday, July 18, 2024 at 4:31:00 AM
Starts: Friday, July 26, 2024 at 7:00:00 AM
Starts: Saturday, July 27, 2024 at 6:00:00 AM