Craig Breen’s thoughts ahead of Rally Sweeden – Hyundai Motorsport RALLY preview and pre-event test video

Craig Breen’s thoughts ahead of Rally Sweeden – Hyundai Motorsport preview and test video

Hyundai Motorsport travels to Rally Sweden, the second round of the 2023 FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) season, looking to build upon its positive podium start in Monte-Carlo

Rally Sweden is the only pure snow/ice terrain event on the calendar and was the site of the Hyundai i20 N Rally1 Hybrid’s first-ever top-three finish in 2022

Taking on the wintry stages next weekend (February 9-12) will be Thierry Neuville/Martijn Wydaeghe, Esapekka Lappi/Janne Ferm and Craig Breen/James Fulton.

Hyundai Motorsport will journey north to Rally Sweden next week for the second round of the 2023 FIA World Rally Championship (WRC), looking to continue the momentum from a solid start to the season in Monte-Caro.

As the only snow event on the 2023 WRC schedule, Rally Sweden offers a unique test for both man and machine. Despite the terrain, the profile of the stages makes the event one of the fastest rounds on the calendar. The studded winter tyres provide remarkably high levels of grip in the icy conditions, while large snowbanks can be utilised by the drivers to assist cornering. However this can be a risky game; when the temperature is slightly warmer, the banks can disintegrate on impact and leave cars stranded in the deep snow.

2022 FIA World Rally Championship Round 02, Rally Sweden 2022, 24-27 February 2022 Thierry Neuville, Martijn Wydaeghe, Hyundai i20 N Rally1, Action during Day 3 of WRC Rally Sweden 2022 Photographer: Romain Thuillier Worldwide copyright: Hyundai Motorsport GmbH

The 2022 edition of Rally Sweden was a strong outing for the Alzenau-based team; Thierry Neuville and Martijn Wydaeghe secured second place to bring home the debut podium finish for the Hyundai i20 N Rally1 Hybrid. All three crews will be aiming to show a consistent pace and battle for victory in Umeå next weekend (February 9-12).

Neuville has amassed four podium finishes in Sweden, including a win in 2018. Alongside co-driver Wydaeghe, the Belgian will be hoping to deliver another strong result after securing third overall in Rallye Monte-Carlo. The opening round of the season was an important learning experience for Esapekka Lappi and Janne Ferm, as they worked on finding their footing within the team. Like Neuville and Wydaeghe, the Finns know what is required to stand on the podium in Sweden.

Craig Breen and James Fulton will helm the third Hyundai i20 N Rally1 Hybrid in Sweden. 2023 marks Breen’s return to the squad after a year away. With a relatively new face in the co-driver’s seat in the shape of Fulton, the Irishman will be aiming to get plenty of kilometres under his belt during his first rally behind the wheel of the Hyundai i20 N Rally1 Hybrid.

All three crews have conducted pre-event tests on the surface ahead of Sweden. Hyundai Motorsport has entered Lappi and Ferm into the SM-Ralli Kuopio (February 3-4), second round of the Finnish Rally Championship to further their preparations.

 Crew Notes: Craig Breen/James Fulton (#42 Hyundai i20 N Rally1)

•             First event of the season for Irish crew

•             Breen finished second at 2018 edition of Rally Sweden

Breen said: “Rally Sweden is always an event that I enjoy, and a place where I have been able to bring home some of my best results in the past. We only have one rally a year where we get to drive in true winter conditions with the studded tyres, so that makes Sweden even more special. The stages will be very straight and very fast, meaning you need to be committed to being quick. With quite a few stages taking place in the dark, it’s really important to make sure the pace notes are accurate. In an ideal world, I would love to leave Sweden having stood on the podium again, but with it being my first competitive event in the Hyundai i20 N Rally1 Hybrid, this will be a challenge. Ultimately, my main goal is to enjoy the experience.”

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