Irish duo Breen and Nagle ready for Arctic Rally Finland
The Irish pairing of Craig Breen and Paul Nagle are looking to get the 2021 FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) season off to a string start as they line out for the Hyundai Shell Mobis World Rally Team for their first outing of the year at Arctic Rally Finland. Breenn will be joined on the event by teammates Thierry Neuville and Ott Tänak.
The all-new event on the WRC calendar sees the team head into the unknown at the only full-snow event of the season. Held in the Rovaniemi region, temperatures can dip below -30°C while reduced daylight hours mean some stages will take place in darkness.
As well as having to create their pace notes from scratch, crews will face a true challenge on the frozen Arctic Circle roads. Ten stages cover 251.08km of competitive distance; snowbanks and studded tyres will be key elements to a successful run in what is likely to be one of the fastest events of the year.
After a ceremonial start in Rovaniemi, crews will head north to tackle the longest stage of the event twice. Saturday covers over half the competitive distance of the rally, with two loops of three stages to the east of the service park. Two stages make up Sunday’s agenda; extra points are on offer in the closing Power Stage for the drivers’ and manufacturers’ battles.
Team Principal Andrea Adamo said: “It’s no secret that our season didn’t begin in the way we had planned in Monte-Carlo. Arctic Rally Finland gives us the opportunity to rectify this. All three drivers have finished on the podium in previous full-snow events, so we know they are capable of great speed in tricky conditions. A brand-new event is an exciting challenge, but there is no room for resting on laurels. We will have to be at the top of our game on all three days – nothing less than victory will be a good result.”
Breen said: “I am thrilled that Paul and I get to start our 2021 championship at a brand-new event for the WRC, a rally that is going to be an amazing adventure for us all. We can be quite sure that we will have cold weather and big snowbanks at Arctic Rally Finland. It’s important for Paul and me to start our season in the right way. It will take a bit of time to get back into the swing of things again, but we can’t wait for it.”