It was a successful day of action for Team MRF Tyres on Rally Liepaja, the second round of the European Rally Championship with Craig Breen just ahead of their stablemate Emil Lindholm sitting in fifth and sixth.
The day saw four stages and over 88 km of competitive action near the town of Talsi in the north west of Latvia. Adding to the challenge was the fact at the crews did not return to service throughout the day, rather having a flexi-service in Talsi.
Crews faced warm conditions on faster roads. A crucial factor to the day’s running was the road cleaning. The more cars went through, the faster the roads became.
Breen and Nagle started eighth on the road while Lindholm and Korhonen were ninth.
The first stage of the day saw a 25 km test with the crews battling to take the advantage so early on.
Lindholm took fifth on the first stage, while Breen was eighth.
Stage 2 saw a further 17.45 km and Lindholm repeated his fifth position from the first stage while Breen took seventh to move into seventh the first service.
It became clear through the day that while the road would be clearing, hanging dust would be an issue.
Breen in the MRF Tyres Hyundai i20 R5 had to slow slightly in the third stage because of the dust, but he still ended up sixth.
Lindholm, however found his groove in his Skoda Fabia Rally2 evo, finishing second on stage, just 5.6 seconds off stage winner, Oliver Solberg.
Lindholm had a small spin on the final stage of the day, dropping more than 10 seconds. Despite this, he ends the day in sixth.
Breen consolidated his position in the final stage, taking advantage of Lindholm’s issue to leap from his Team MRF Tyres stablemate to end the day in fifth. Breen sits just 0.2 seconds off Eerik Pietarinen in fourth.
The two MRF Tyres drivers are separated by just 6.2 seconds at the end of day.
The final day of Rally Liepaja sees the crews stay closer to Liepaja, with six stages over a further 88 km. There will be just the one service throughout the day, meaning that any mistakes will be punished.
The first stage of the day gets underway at 10am local time or 12:30pm in India.
Craig Breen (Driver, Hyundai i20 R5) 5th
“Today was a tough day. We lost some time in the dust which was hanging in the air. We were doing as much as we could throughout the day.
“The direction of development for the tyres is positive and this is the first time I have run on these tyres in the European Championship.
“Tomorrow we will push again. The road position will be important again and we will be looking to find more pace on these roads while getting the data we need.”