Nagle returns to World Rally Championship

Nagle returns to World Rally Championship

Paul Nagle and Craig Breen will get their second World Rally Championship outing of the season on Rally Finland but the actual date of the event remains up in the air.

The Irish crew were contracted to compete on selected WRC rallies for the Hyundai Motorsport World Rally Team but the pandemic cast their plans in disarray.

2019 FIA World Rally Championship Round 09 Rally Finland 01-04 August 2019 Day 3, Atmosphere, Paul Nagle Photographer: Fabien Dufour Worldwide copyright: Hyundai Motorsport GmbH

The last WRC event to run before the global shutdown was Rally Mexico in March.  Promoters of the series are scrambling to save the series, seven rounds are needed to make it viable and Finland looks certain to be the rally the will re-launch the series.

It is scheduled to run from August 6 to 9 but sources within the WRC also say that the event may be deferred to the weekend of September 6, the original date for Rally New Zealand.

Such a move would give Finnish organisers a better chance to prepare for an ever-changing world and would find favour with the European-based teams as it would reduce travel and transport costs in an already curtailed series.

Whatever happens, date wise, Breen and Nagle are certain to start the Finnish round, marking their second outing this year with the Germany-based Korean team.

2019 FIA World Rally Championship Round 09 Rally Finland 01-04 August 2019 Day 1, Action, Craig Breen, Paul Nagle, Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC Photographer: Fabien Dufour Worldwide copyright: Hyundai Motorsport GmbH

They will join team regulars Thierry Neuville and Ott Tanak in a three-car attack on one of the most demanding and fastest rallies in the WRC.

Nagle is a past winner of the event, alongside Kris Meeke in 2016 and remains one of two co-drivers from Ireland or Britain to win the rally in its 70 year history.  This will mark Breen’s 11th start on the highly-specialised event, his best result coming in 2016 when as Meeke and Nagle’s teammate he took third overall.

Finland last year was their first official outing for Hyundai at world level and their seventh overall set them up for further runs last year including Britain and Australia.

They pair were always promised a limited 2020 programme with Hyundai but with the way the world changed since their last outing in February nothing was certain.

“I can’t wait for Rally Finland alongside Craig with Hyundai, I have some great memories of some great roads there. I hope with a test before the event but nothing is certain.”

Last year they tackled Rally Estonia as a warm-up event and while the event is set for July 24 to 26, inter country quarantine rules could prevent any Rally Finland hopeful of contesting this event.

Versions of this article were originally published in The Kerryman and the Killarney Advertiser. Kerry Motorsport News is the motorsport content provider to both titles.

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