Nagle WRC plan for 2021 hits set back
Paul Nagle’s early 2021 have plans already been hit by coronavirus restrictions in Sweden.
Last week it was revealed that the Hyundai Motorsport team had retained Nagle and Craig Breen for a six-round World Rally Championship programme for next season.
While precise details, in relation to the events to be contested, were not announced the Germany-based team confirmed that the Irish crew would begin their 2021 campaign on Rally Sweden in February.
However on Tuesday of this week Rally Sweden organisers announced that the event has been already cancelled due to increased restrictions in Sweden’s Värmland region.
A new all-snow rally is set to be announced to replace Rally Sweden.
The Alzenau, Germany-based team announced its 2021 driver line-up late last week.
As well as retaining former World Champion Ott Tänak and Thierry Neuville for an eighth season, the Irish crew will share the third car with Dani Sordo.
Each driver will use a Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC on six rounds of the 12-round World Rally Championship next season.
The Spaniard has already been confirmed for the season-opening, Rallye Monte Carlo, which the way clear for Breen and Nagle to contest the season’s only all-snow rally in Sweden on February 11 to 14.
With Toyota Gazoo Racing World Rally Team having already confirmed its three-car driver line-up (world champion Sébastien Ogier, Elfyn Evans and Kalle Rovanperä) and Ford/M-Sport in search of paying drivers, the 2021 driver market is all but sealed.
Breen and Nagle were given to chance over many other potential candidates after a stand out performance in Rally Estonia last September. The pair finished second on that occasion – the best result ever for a car crewed entirely by Motorsport Ireland licence holders at world level.
“It is great news,” said Nagle, “There are seven professional drives available in the World Rally Championship next year and we are in one of them.”
Pandemic related travel restrictions have prevented the Hyundai Motorsport team from announcing the further outings that will be assigned to Breen and Sordo until closer to each event.
“To have the opportunity to compete on the stages of the World Rally Championship with Hyundai Motorsport has genuinely been a dream come true for me. Although I have joined the team in occasional rallies since 2018, this year we were really able to demonstrate our potential, with second place in Estonia. It gives us something exciting from which we can build. The team has placed its faith in myself and Paul to deliver more of these results in 2021. We’ll give everything we’ve got, starting from Rally Sweden,” said: Breen