A day of development and consolidation for Team MRF Tyres in Portugal


After the first stage win for Team MRF Tyres in European Rally Championship competition yesterday, today has been about tyre development at Rally Fafe Montelongo.

The fight for a podium ended on Saturday afternoon after Craig Breen and Paul Nagle hit a patch of oil in their Hyundai i20 R5, resulting in them hitting a rock and ripping a wheel off.

Team MRF Tyres were undeterred and returned today for the nine stages and 85.65km of competitive action.

The weather in Northern Portugal was ever-changing with sun, rain and wind coming and going meaning that car setup and tyre selection was impossible to predict.

The team was able to repair the car overnight but the setup was suboptimal for Breen/Nagle. However, the kilometres were important to understand how the wet and slick tarmac tyres work in the changing weather conditions.

The tyre tactics were made at the last minute in service with teams eager to see what their competitors were doing.

Given the lost time and change of focus, Breen/Nagle no longer concentrated on stage times, with top five and top 10 stage times being of minor concern. The efforts were all based on data and development.

Emil Lindholm and Mikael Korhonen did not restart on Sunday with their Skoda Fabia Rally2 Evo after brake failure on Saturday resulting in a heavy accident. The impact damaged the roll cage of the car which was impossible to repair in the service park.


However, the team is encouraged from their performance in Portugal where Lindholm/Korhonen taking the fastest time on Shakedown and Breen/Nagle taking the stage win on SS4. Additionally, the data gathered this weekend is of vital importance for future development.

Team MRF Tyres will be back out in round four of the European Rally Championship in Hungary with the tarmac stages around the town of Nyíregyháza to test the Breen/Nagle and Lindholm/Korhonen.

In the end, Rally Fafe Montelongo represented the highs and lows of rallying and Team MRF Tyres looks forward to being back on stages to continue the development and competitive push in the 2020 European Rally Championship.

Craig Breen (Driver, Team MRF Tyres, Hyundai i20 R5)
“A difficult day because after pushing so hard yesterday it was tough to lose out of  contention for the rally. We turned our attention to use it as best we can to gain kilometres on tarmac.

“The challenge today was to learn how to manage the tyre, how to manage what combinations of tyres you need when, especially with how the conditions were changing. It’s not often that we can rally in  so changeable conditions  like this, so we have to try and use it as an opportunity and learn for the future.”

“We have to remember that we were fighting right up at the front of the rally – right for the lead all the way. We have to remain confident and keep that in mind.”

Emil Lindholm (Driver, Team MRF Tyres, Skoda Fabia Rally2 Evo)
“It is disappointing that we went out with a brake failure so early on. We had good pace in shakedown and in the opening stage. The data that Craig and Paul are getting are important for the continued development of the next MRF Tyres product.”