With a second place finish at the Rally Liepaja, Team MRF Tyres registered their first ever podium since entering the European Rally Championship in 2020. It was a hard fought podium with Craig Breen and Paul Nagle battling against Europe’s best throughout the day.
The day’s action saw six stages and 90.92km of action in warm and sunny conditions on roads around the Latvian coastal town of Liepaja. The Team MRF Tyres Hyundai i20 R5 started the day in second place, involved in a great fight with Nikolay Gryazin/Konstantin Aleksandrov (VW), Efrén Llarena/ Sara Fernández (Skoda) and Alexey Lukyanuk/Dmitriy Eremeev (Citroën). Just 13.4 seconds separated the four cars.
The day started with the 18.42km Neste stage where Breen and Nagle came in third in the stage with a time of 9:18.2, just 3.4 seconds off the lead. The pace was repeated on the second stage of the day, with Breen/Nagle taking second just 3.1 seconds off the stage win on the Invest in Liepaja! stage. Third on stage nine, solidified Team MRF Tyres second place going into the final service. With just three stages remaining, Breen and Nagle sat in second 15.2 seconds off Gryzain/Konstantin in the lead and 16.0 seconds ahead of Lukanuk/Eremeev in third.
After final service, SS10 saw a repeat of the Neste stage with Breen/Nagle coming home in fifth, 3.9 seconds off the stage win. The eleventh stage would be a new one for the rally with the 9.93km blast setting up a setting up a grandstand finish. Breen and Nagle were able to bring the car home third on the final stage to finish second in the overall standings as they stood at the final stopline.
Craig Breen, Driver, Hyundai i20 R5, said“We had to push for the whole rally. This series is very strong witth some of the best drivers competing and we had to fight hard at every stage. Getting our first ever podium in the ERC is very satisfying for me and Team MRF Tyres. The Hyundai i20 R5 felt good through the rally. We entered the European Rally Championship a year ago and Rally Liepaja is only our third gravel rally and a podium finish here is a great result.”