The MRF Tyres team made its rally debut on tarmac last weekend at the FIA European Rally Championship season-opener held, Rally di Roma Capitale, and they’ve deemed the event a huge success.
The rally was the first tarmac event for the team, which ran two cars for Craig Breen and Emil Lindholm with the aim of developing tyres for the Indian tyre company, with both drivers finishing the rally in the top 10 overall.
Breen and co-driver Paul Nagle were on a mission throughout the weekend and were the fastest crew aboard a Hyundai i20 R5 and fought hard for a fourth place finish overall against rival Simone Tempestini. Breen finished the rally with just a 1.3 second gap over the defending Romanian champion.
“We gave it pretty much everything we had. We made gradual improvements over the weekend to learn how to get the best out of the tyre. To finish fourth is great and an absolute credit to the team,” Breen said about his succesful weekend.
“To think that this tyre barely existed a few weeks ago and to come out and be so competitive is a credit to the team. We gained a lot of valuable data on this rally.“
“I really enjoyed it. It has been a pleasure from start to finish. Let’s bring on the next one. Pico just dominated everything and reminds me of home. I would love to go do that stage again!”
For the Finnish duo of Lindholm and Mikael Korhonen in the Škoda Fabia Evo2 R5, the weekend was all about trying to improve the car and the pace throughout both loops of the rally.
They struggled to find the right setup but appeared to have it refined by the final day, which helped them to collect some important data for the tyre developers.
Lindholm eventually ended the event in tenth overall and in the ERC1 Junior class he finished fifth.
“We were able to make improvements to the set up at each service point. It is a process of learning how to maximise the tyre and maximise my own performance. It has been over a year since I have done a tarmac rally, so I am pleased with my result.” Lindholm explained about his weekend.
“This rally was always about gaining more information on the tyre for its future development. We did this successfully for Team MRF Tyres. Undoubtedly, we will be much wiser next time out!
“It was a weekend without any issues and that is good. There has not been a rally for months and it is good to be back. Importantly, we can see that the tyre is working, and we have more knowledge to work with them.”
Rally Liepāja in Latvia will play host to the second round of the revised 2020 ERC calendar on 14-16 August, The Checkered Flag will be reporting everything from the event so stay tuned for that!