Craig Breen goes into today’s second leg of Rally Liepaja in second place after a strong day in the Latvian forests.
Driving the MRF Tyres R5 Hyundai, the 2015 Liepaja winner finished day one of the European Championship round just 10 seconds behind the VW Polo of Russian Nikolay Gryazin and 14 seconds ahead of the Skoda Fabia of Spaniard Efren Llarena.
“Apart from dust getting into the car, no problems. I’m pretty satisfied,” said Breen.
Callum Devine had been as high as ninth in his Ford Fiesta but lost places on the final stage of the day which he described as “tricky”. Cathan McCourt was 21st and Jason Mitchell 27th in their Fiestas.
Meanwhile, Keith Cronin is back in action today in the M-Sport Rally in Cumbria after a three-year break.
The four-time British champion’s appearance in the all-Ford event is a prelude to his return to the BRC series he first won in 2010.
The Cork man has linked up with Hankook Tyres to contest the next four gravel rounds of the BRC, starting with the Nicky Grist Stages in Wales next week plus the season-ending all-tarmac Ulster Rally in November.
He will drive a new R2 Ford Fiesta run by the Cookstown-based NPL team which is also responsible for the Fiestas of McCourt and Mitchell.
Cronin is one of more than a dozen Irish drivers taking part in the M-Sport Rally which is based entirely within Greystoke forest.
Among the Irish drivers joining Cronin in the starting list today are former Irish Tarmac champions Josh Moffett and Garry Jennings as well as Joe McGonigle, Frank Kelly, Vivian Hamill, Adrian Hetherington and Sean Devine. Taking part, too, is Connor McCloskey, another rally-winning driver who has been absent since 2019.