Day one Rally Sweden report

2020 FIA World Rally Championship Round 02, Rally Sweden 13-16 February 2020 Craig Breen, Paul Nagle, Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC Photographer: Helena El Mokni Worldwide copyright: Hyundai Motorsport GmbH

Craig Breen and Paul Nagle are just ten second off the podium after today’s opening day of Rally Sweden.

Back in a Hyundai i20 WRC for the first time since last October’s Wales Rally GB, the Kerry/ Waterford pairing admitted they are struggling to find a rhythm after such a long layoff from world championship rallying.

Today’s rally ran over a much-reduced timetable, due to a lack of snow in the region and tomorrow’s route will follow an almost identical distance as today – just 64km were run competitively, nearly all across the border in Norway.

Breen said he is looking forward to tomorrow after taking third fastest time on today’s closing stage.

“It is great to be back in a WRC ca, it’s been a while since Wales Rally GB. This is a different RLLY Sweden we are used to what we’ve seen in previous years, a much shorter event and missing a lot of the kilometres we should have be doing.,” he said.

“As the day went on, I started to get more confidence. It is always going to take stage or two to get settled back in; fighting against guys who are in the car all the time, it’s hard to be flat out from the start. I enjoyed it and I felt I was getting stronger with each kilometre. Tomorrow, it could be difficult to make much of a difference but we’ll certainly try.”

Meanwhile both Joan Armstrong and Noel O’Sullivan were taken to hospital for precautionary checks following a high-speed accident on today’s fourth stage. While they are a little battered and bruised they will be fine – they same can’t be said for their Ford Fiesta R2 which is beyond repair and they will take no further part in the rally.

“Body is sore but I’ll survive,” said O’Sullivan

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