Craig Breen and Paul Nagle are in seventh place after the opening two stages of Rallye Monte Carlo.
The first leg of the 90th editions of the Monte Carlo Rally was made up of two very well-known stages adding up to 38.45 kilometers.
The first stage of the new Hybrid-era, the 15.20km run from Lucéram to Lantosque, was frosty in places.
Breen was fifth fastest, he was full of praise for his new team , M-Sport and his new car – the Ford Puma Rally1 Hybrid.
The second stage – La Bollène to Vésubie to Moulinet included a visit to the famed Col De Turin midway through its 23.25kms.
He ended the night 29.2 seconds of rally leader Sebastien Ogier in a Toyota Yaris Rally1 while the returning Sebastien Loeb is in second place in another Puma. Breen and Nagle are 18 seconds shy of third placed man Elvyn Evans in the overall standings and its all to play for over the next three days
However he described his runs over both stages as average.
“You’ve [the team] done an amazing job honestly. It was a very average stage for myself, honestly, I don’t expect that’ll be super high on the standings because I’m sure the guys behind gotta be pushing as well. The power is amazing- really awesome,” he said at the end of stage one.
It was Breen’s first time over the Col de Turini in five years.
Tyrone co-driver Arron Johnson, alongside Takamoto Katsuta’s is eighth overnight in the their Toyota Yaris Rally1
Monte Essentials Day 2
Friday’s itinerary consists of two attempts of Roure / Beuil (18.33km), Guillaumes / Péone / Valberg (13.49km) and Val-de-Chalvagne / Entrevaux (17.11km) with just a tyre fitting zone between the morning and afternoon loops.
It is an early start for the crews – (all times are local – subtract one hour for Irish time) – with the first car due out of Parc Fermé in Monaco at 07:01.
After a 20-minute service they face the long run out to Roure in the Alpes-Maritimes. The village is situated at the entrance of the Tinée Valley, at the edge of the Mercantour National Park.
That stage, the fourth of the event gets underway at 9.14.
The second stage of the day, starts from Guillaumes gets underway one-hour later, and finishes in the ski-resort of Valberg (Kerry Motorsport News’ home for the next two days).
An official fuel halt is scheduled for the town of Puget-Théniers, a town stepped in the history of the Monte Carlo Rally, from around 11am.
The final stage of the loop runs from Val-de-Chalvagne to Entrevaux and gets underway at 11.35
Entrevaux is another village long-associated with the Monte Carlo Rally – indeed when the rally was based in Gap (between 2014 and 2021) crews would leave the official start ramp in Monte Carlo and contest a version of this stage as the event opener. Another version of this stage will count as the event closer on Sunday morning.
After Entrevaux the crews return to Puget-Théniers for a Tyre Fitting Zone before repeating the same three stages in the afternoon.
Roure starts at 14:16, Valberg at 14.19 (via a fuel stop at Puget-Théniers) and Entrevaux at 16.37.
Then it’s the long hike back to Monaco for service at 18:52 marking 12 full hours in the car.
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