Craig Breen’s Rally di Roma Capitale preview – events starts Friday night

It is back to tarmac rounds for Team MRF Tyes as the FIA European Rally Championship visits the Rally di Roma Capitale 23-25 July.

Held in Fiuggi, south of the Italian capital of Rome, the third round of the 2021 FIA ERC is the first visit to tarmac this year.

Team MRF Tyres coming off its first podium success in the FIA ERC in Rally Liepaja, demonstrating the effectiveness of the aggressive development program over the last year.

However, Rally di Roma Capitale will be an entirely different challenge.

Craig Breen and Paul Nagle are back in their Hyundai i20 R5. The Irish duo return to the Italian tarmac after starting the Team MRF Tyres campaign at this rally in 2020.

Breen will be on double duty as he defends his position in the Italian Rally Championship which runs in conjunction with the FIA ERC.

Meanwhile Simone Campedelli and Tania Canton rejoin the team for their second rally of the FIA ERC season in a Volkswagen Polo R5. Their local knowledge will be invaluable to the pace and development of the tyres.

They won the event in 2017 and are somewhat local experts on these Roman roads.

The rally features a heavily revised route in 2021. A Craig Breen favourite, Pico is not on the itinerary this year and Sunday’s Collepardo – Civita is a new addition.

The rally gets underway with a ceremonial start in the centre of Rome before a show stage will treat the drivers to a blast around the historic sites of Rome.

The FIA ERC is taking the action to the people and the ancient buildings will surely make for spectacular photos and video coverage.

The rally proper gets underway on Saturday. The 7.25km Rocca di Cave test is a twisty classic with 18 up-hill hairpins in the first five kilometers. SS2, at 19.7km starts in a fast and flowing way before a challenging decent near the finish.

The morning loop is completed by the Affile-Bellegra stage at 7.34km. It is fast and technical, making it a tough morning for the crews.

The first two stages are repeated in the afternoon but the third stage will just use the final 2.94km to make it a thrilling blast to end the day.

Sunday sees the crews exit service early with the first stage getting underway at 7:45am local time.

The Fiuggi – Guarcino is a 19.87km classic. The start is just a short drive from the service park with three distinct styles, jumps and a high-speed section to finish. Next up is the new edition, the 10.62km Collepardo – Civita which features many hairpins.

The last stage of the loop is Santopadre – Arpino and at 21.17km is the longest of the rally. It features twisty, narrow and wide flowing sections ensuring that the drivers have to be on top of their game.
The afternoon will see a repeat before a third running of the Fiuggi – Guarcino stage finishes the rally.

Like the previous rallies, the entry list is supreme with 51 Rally2 (R5) cars on the entry list, gunning for victory.

MRF Tyres will be represented with customer cars as well. Polish duo Igor Widłak/ Daniel Dymurski will be campaigning their Ford Fiesta Rally3 in the RC3 division.

After their podium in ERC2 in Rally Liepaja, Michał Pryczek/Jacek Pryczek are back in their Subaru Impreza STi N15.

Quotes
Craig Breen, Hyundai i20 R5
“It is going to be a tough event with long stages. It is about 20 percent different from last year so it will be a nice challenge.”

“It has been a good few weeks. I have been on the road a lot since Poland, and I have enjoyed the successes Team MRF Tyres and I have had in the last few weeks. I am looking forward to continuing that challenge in Italy.”

“There is a lot of twisty tarmac through the mountains and the tarmac usually offers a lot of grip. It is a competitive field here this weekend and the fans will have a lot to look forward to. We are looking forward to rallying in front of them for Team MRF Tyres.”

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