Team MRF will compete in the 2020 FIA European Rally Championship
Team MRF Tyres has dominated the FIA Asia Pacific Rally Championship (APRC) nine times, thrice as the MRF Skoda team. From 2012 to 2014, the MRF Skoda team has won the three times consecutively. They made their WRC debut in 2018 in the WRC2 class with Arjuna Awardee Gaurav Gill piloting the Ford Fiesta R5, helping the team gather data for new tyre development. This led to a year of testing and development in 2019 of the next generation of MRF Tyres with Craig and WRC legend Mikko Hirvonen. Team MRF Tyres is all set to make their international comeback this new year with the European Rally Championship.
The team will be competing the full season with Irish rally driver, Craig Breen and co-driver Paul Nagle. Craig is a notable name in the world of rallying, having competed in a total of 61 WRC Rallies and finishing atop the podium twice. He is an Irish Tarmac Rally Champion and has finished second in the 2015 European Rally Championship. Paul Nagle has won five WRC events as a co-driver. Now back with Breen, they bring a wealth of experience to the MRF Tyres team. The duo will pilot a BRC Racing team built Hyundai i20 R5. The first round of the Championship is the Azores Rallye, which will take place on the Portuguese island from March 26 to 28, 2020.
What the team had to say:
“I am really happy to start this adventure with MRF Tyres. We worked together last year placing emphasis on tyre development. Now I am really looking forward to embarking on this journey in the European Rally Championship. It will be a great adventure to get back to some rallies I have done in the past along with some new rallies. It will be a great year with MRF Tyres, BRC Racing Team and Hyundai Motorsport. I am looking forward to the Azores Rally and getting the program started.” Said Craig Breen, MRF Tyres driver.
“I am really looking forward to seeing the results of this new partnership between MRF Tyres and the BRC Racing Team. The European Rally Championship is one of the most important series in the sport. The season includes some very famous events, and is a great test for the cars, and for the tyres in all conditions. MRF Tyres have already had great success in rallying, establishing themselves as very competitive option for drivers and teams. Hopefully this season between them, BRC and the Hyundai i20 R5, they can add more to their story in motorsport.” Said Andrea Adamo, Hyundai Motorsport Team Principal.
“MRF Tyres has a long and proud history in rallying in India and the Asia Pacific region. With nine APRC titles, it is the right time to take the next step and take Indian motorsport into the European Rally Championship. To work with great professionals in the field like Craig Breen, Paul Nagle, BRC Racing Team and Hyundai Motorsports is a great privilege. We know it will be a challenge to compete with our European rivals but we are committed to rallying in the long term and we are aiming to learn and develop. After all, MRF Tyres is India’s number one tyre company and pioneering motorsports in India.” Mr. Arun Mammen, MRF Tyres Vice-Chairman & Managing Director.
The 2020 ERC calendar is as follows:
Round 1: Azores Rallye (gravel), 26-28 March
Round 2: Rally Islas Canarias (asphalt), 7-9 May
Round 3: Rally Liepâja (Latvia, gravel), 29-31 May
Round 4: 77th Rally Poland (gravel), 26-28 June
Round 5: Rally di Roma Capitale (asphalt), 24-26 July
Round 6: Barum Czech Rally Zlín (asphalt), 28-30 August
Round 7: Cyprus Rally (gravel), 9-11 October
Round 8: Rally Hungary (asphalt), 6-8 November