Craig Breen was full of praise for his Killarney co-driver Paul Nagle after they finished a historic second on last weekend’s Rally Estonia.
The rally, the 600th WRC event, and the first one to run since March’s Rally Mexico, marked the first time that an all-Irish crew have stepped on a world championship podium.
Breen finished second on Rally Sweden in 2018 but with Britain’s Scott Martin co-driving and Nagle’s five wins were alongside Kris Meeke who races under a Motorsport UK licence.
Both Breen and Nagle are Motorsport Ireland licence holders and their second place on the Estonian event assures them a place in the history books.
This was just their fourth rally with the Hyundai Motorsport World Rally Team
The Irish crew, helped by two stage wins on Saturday, their first for the Korean team, controlled their second place from Saturday morning.
The fact that they finished behind defending World Champion and teammate Ott Tanak and ahead of six-time champion Toyota’s Sebastien Ogier speaks volumes for their performance.
“We took it aisy in there,” said Breen at the finish line of the final stage on Sunday morning. “We didn’t mean to take it that aisy but it was incredibly rough. It has been an incredible weekend. I have to thank everybody that gave me the chance to be here. This man beside me [Paul Nagle] has been incredible as well.”
They will, almost certainly, enter Ypres Rally Belgium in November with Hyundai.
They won this non-championship rally last year and now that it has been included in the WRC for the first time, they are in line to be handed the keys of the third Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC again.
“It was a big and very important result. A near-perfect weekend,” said Nagle of their Estonian performance, ”We were in good company all weekend with World Champions about.”