Trouble-free opening day key to Roma success – Breen

The MRF Hyundai driver is expecting the ERC opener to be a rally of two halves


A trouble-free run through the opening day of Rally di Roma is crucial to success at this week’s opening round of the European Rally Championship, according to MRF Hyundai driver Craig Breen.

The Irishman described a rally of two halves following the recce of the roads around Fiuggi earlier this week.

“Getting through the Saturday stages is going to be key to a result,” Breen told DirtFish. “They’re really tricky. I’d say they’re a little bit like the stages at home and maybe they are in places – there’s some places where the road is broken and really quite messy.

“There was a lot of gravel and a lot of mess on the road in the shakedown stage – it will be quite bad on the first day.

“The second day is completely different. The roads are faster and more flowing – when we’re going through there on the second run there will be a lot of rubber down and the place will be like a racetrack.

“It’s going to be great. It’s just fantastic to be back rallying again.”

While he talks about the competition at the front, Breen points out that his focus is on development. The Team MRF driver was ninth fastest at Friday morning’s qualifying stage, with his i20 R5 running the Indian firm’s tyres.

Talking about the potential for a result in Italy this week, Breen added: “We’ve said consistently that the focus for us is on development of the tyres – it’s why we’re here: to gather as much as data as we can.

“A good result for us is getting a very full understanding of the tyres and helping MRF with the development of the product for the future. Maybe this is a boring answer, but it’s the truth about why we’re here.”