Craig Breen and Paul Nagle are back in action this weekend on the opening round of the Italian Rally Championship, Rally il Ciocco. The Irish crew will pilot a Hyundai i20 R5 along with their World Rally Championship team-mates Theirry Neuville and Martijn Wydaeghe.
It’s not the first time Breen and Nagle have competed on the asphalt rally. During their 2019 rejuvenation season they finished fourth on Rally il Ciocco in a Skoda Fabia R5.
The Italian Rally Championship is well known for the formidable pace of local drivers like Andrea Crugnola and Giandomenico Basso who lead the Rally il Ciocco entry list.
While Hyundai will be focused on gaining asphalt experience ahead of next month’s Rally Croatia; Breen and Nagle will fancy adding another Italian rally win to their CVs. They won Rally di Alba last year as well as Rally Sanremo the year before.
Hyundai is still to confirm whether Breen or Dani Sordo will drive the team’s third World Rally Car on Rally Croatia.
“The paved stages are beautiful,” Breen told rally organisers, “and the Renaissance Tuscany Il Ciocco Resort, around which the event takes place, is a wonderful place.
“I can’t wait to go back.
“We will be racing in a Hyundai i20 R5 and I am really happy to get back in the car and get some competitive mileage on asphalt, especially on such beautiful roads.
“I also hope to bring home a good result.”
For Neuville, it is a perfect opportunity to gain more time with his new co-driver, Wydaeghe. The Belgian pair struggled with communication issues on Arctic Rally Finland with Wydaeghe taking French pronunciation lessons to overcome the problems.
Rally il Ciocco is made up of 10 stages including a super special on Friday afternoon. Three loops of three stages around Castelnuovo di Garfagnana, north of Pisa and Lucca, complete the 93-kilometre event on Saturday.
Photo courtesy of Hyundai Motorsport