Hyundai Motorsport will continue its preparation for Rally Croatia with five of its World Rally Championship crews competing in April’s Rally Sanremo.
Organisers of the Italian Rally Championship’s second round revealed that Craig Breen, Pierre-Louis Loubet, and Oliver Solberg would take part in the rally’s main R5 category.
Meanwhile, WRC title contenders Ott Tanak and Theirry Neuville have entered Rally Sanremo in two Hyundai i20 WRCs. The rally has catered for the latest specification World Rally Cars by creating a “Sanremo WRC” category in a similar fashion to Rally di Roma Capitale last July.
Italy’s north-western asphalt rally is steeped in history and this year’s event will be its 68th running.
While Tanak and Neuville will aim to bed the Hyundai WRC into European asphalt; Breen, Loubet, and Solberg have the opportunity to claim an enviable Rally Sanremo victory with the World Rally Car runners ineligible for overall honours.
It will be Breen and co-driver Paul Nagle’s second appearance in the Italian Rally Championship so far in 2021. Their first, Rally il Ciocco, came to an unfortunate end when a sudden puncture slid their Hyundai off the road and into the bocage beneath.
The Irish pair had picked up two stage wins before their demise on Ciocci’s fifth test. Neuville went on to claim the opening Italian Championship round, 22-seconds ahead of Stefano Albertini’s Skoda Fabia. It was the Belgian’s first success with new co-driver Martijn Wydaeghe.
Breen and Nagle have since been confirmed as Hyundai’s third WRC crew for Rally Croatia and will hope a return to their 2019 Rally Sanremo winning form can springboard them into the world championship’s first proper tarmac rally of the year.
Rally Sanremo will start with a short 2 km stage on Saturday 10 April. Seven stages on Sunday completes the action with crews set to complete a total of 90 stage kilometres. The “Sanremo WRC” class will skip Saturday evening’s Bajardo test.
Photos courtesy of Red Bull Content Pool and the Italian Rally Championship