Irishman Craig Breen (Hyundai i20) won the first classification stage in the Sanremo Rally on Saturday evening. Breen was one second faster than his Italian teammate Andrea Crugnola in the 2-kilometer opening stage. Italian Ciuffi Tommaso (Skoda Fabia) was third fastest. Nicolas Gilsoul is twelfth on 4.4 as co-driver of the Frenchman Paul-Antoine Santoni (VW Polo GTI).
No sunny scenes in Sanremo. The rain was pouring down from the sky and the beaches on the Ligurian coast were therefore deserted. Breen was second fastest in the shakedown in the morning and was the fastest in the opening stage. Nicolas Gilsoul guided Santoni to the twelfth fastest time, a strong performance with more than fifty R5s at the start. Santoni and Gilsoul, among others, managed to keep World Cup driver Oliver Solberg (Hyundai i20) two tenths behind them. Maxime Potty and Loïc Dumont (Ford Fiesta Rally2) were 108th fastest, 38.8 from Breen.
The real deal is for Sunday, when the participants get seven more classification rides in front of the wheels. Then the WRCs of Thierry Neuville (Hyundai i20) and Ott Tänak (Hyundai i20) come into action. Together with the Frenchman Pierre-Yves Loubet (Hyundai i20) they are in Sanremo to prepare for the Rally of Croatia. That third World Cup round will be held in two weeks.