Though he narrowly missed the podium, the MRF tyres rallyist was positive after his first outing with the team
Team MRF Tyres hit the WRC2 two years ago (with Gaurav Gill’s debut at the Rally Italia Sardegna), with the stated aim of developing their tyres for the world championship events. Through four rounds in the 2018 WRC2 campaign, the MRF tyres performed admirably, giving the brand all the inputs they needed to venture an attempt at a future in the international rally stages.
The brand then took a year off, gathering all the data collected and spent most of 2019 testing, developing and making tyres which would now be up to world standards. And that was no empty promise, as the brand got right back into the competition by committing to a full program in the 2020 European Rally championship with world-class drivers like Craig Breen in the Hyundai i20 R5 and Emil Lindholm in the Skoda Fabia R5 evo2.
Nevertheless, the brand was set for a focused improvement in a new arena, far removed from the Indian and Asia Pacific Rally Championships, considering the variances in both terrain as well as temperature throughout the six rallies (three gravel and three tarmac) that comprise the championship.
And as it seems, the fruits of their labour are showing in their very first outing, with Craig Breen finishing a respectable fourth place in the Rally de Roma Capitale, no small feat considering he’s up against competitors running tyres already proven across multiple attempts in the various ERC stages. And that’s not all, as the Skoda Fabia R5 evo2 driven by Emil Lindholm came in a competent tenth place in the rally, again not really a cause for concern, as the duo faced stiff competition from a whopping 87 crews that signed up to rally in Rome.
Sharing his experiences after the conclusion of the first stage via Instagram, Breen wrote, “It’s not often I would be happy finishing fourth in a rally, but after all the hard work, all the testing it has been immensely satisfying to have been competitive with the #MRFTyres in Rally de Roma Capitale! Both the tyres and the Hyundai i20 R5 performed faultlessly, we still have some work to do but the foundations are solid. ”
The MRF team will now move to Rally Liepaja, to be held on the weekend of August 14-16 on the coast of Latvia for ten gravel stages across 180km.