Team MRF Tyres have added to their points tally after securing 5th and 6th place results at Rally Liepāja - Round 2 of the 2020 European Rally Championship (ERC).
The 2020 ERC marks the Indian tyre manufacturer’s first full season in a rally championship in Europe. They had enjoyed a successful maiden outing in the championship last month, with Irish racer Craig Breen leading the charge for MRF Tyres with a 4th place result.
Breen bounced back from a mishap to take 5th place
Lindholm finished 6th overall
Lindholm also took 2nd place in the ERC1 Junior category
Fifth place for Craig Breen
After testing their tyres on tarmac at the season-opening Rally di Roma Capitale, Rally Liepāja in Latvia saw MRF compete on gravel across 10 fast and flowing stages. Craig Breen and co-driver Paul Nagle encountered issues with hanging dust on Saturday’s stages, requiring the team to make changes to their Hyundai i20 R5 overnight to find some additional pace.
The duo dropped down the order after losing 56sec on the seventh stage (SS7), but bounced back in the next stage by recording the second-best time. Breen’s SS8 time was just 1.5sec off that of stage winner Mads Ostberg.
They ended up finishing the rally in 5th place. “It was a tough rally but we showed some good pace. It was important that we got to the end of the rally to pick up good points and get more data for the development of the tyres,” Breen said.
“Being able to take a second on one stage was good and shows our pace. What happened to us on SS7 could have happened to anyone. I am looking forward to continuing on gravel at the next round in the Azores Rallye,” he added.
Oliver Solberg ended up taking overall victory in his Volkswagen Polo GTI R5.
Lindholm 2nd overall in ERC1
Emil Lindholm and co-driver Mikael Korhonen endured a tougher time in their Skoda Fabia R5 evo2. The duo lost a chunk of time following awkward landing after a jump on the final day. They were able to re-join the stage, but the incident ended their charge up the leader board and they had to settle for 6th place overall.
However, the result was enough for them to take 2nd place in the ERC1 Junior category that they’re competing in.
“We wanted to make sure we got to the end of this rally. After our moment in the morning, our focus certainly turned to consolidating our sixth place and gaining data. Saying that, we did have some good pace through the weekend,” Lindholm said.
“Taking a second on a stage is encouraging and like Craig, the development of the MRF Tyres is going in the right direction. It was also important to get the points in ERC1 Junior. We finished second in that class, which is quite a positive result for us and Team MRF Tyres.”
MRF Tyres will now head to the Portuguese Islands for the Azores Rallye, which will be another gravel event, on September 17-19. You can head here for the complete 2020 ERC calendar.
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