The Discover Northern Ireland, Circuit of Ireland Rally, was round three of the FIA European Rally Championship. It was a special one for Irishman Craig Breen, who didn’t have to fly across Europe to drive his Peugeot 208 T16. Breen started Friday’s stages running third on the road, yet topped the timesheets on all but one of the opening three stages. If Craig was ever going to achieve his life-long ambition by getting his name on the same trophy as his childhood hero the late Frank Meagher he was going to have to make Leg two on Saturday count and that he sure did. Barrable drew first blood on the opening stage and snatched Craig’s precious circuit lead but the Peugeot Rally Academy ace fought back by setting fastest time on the next two tests in a nip and tuck battle that would see him swap the lead over and back between himself and Barrable before the mid-day service. The battle resumed over two visits to the short Lisburn stage and both drivers claimed a victory each but it was clear that Craig’s power issue had been finally cured by the engineers of the Peugeot Rally Academy and he was on a charge. When the pressure is on small mistakes have big consequences and it was Barrable that suffered first when he slipped off the road and out of the rally on SS16 gifting Craig the comfort of an almost twenty second lead with just two stages to go.
Luckily Craig escaped his own close calls on those remaining stages to realize his dream and take a hard fought rally win by 6.4 seconds over his championship rival Kajetanowicz.
Craig and the 208T16 now take the lead of the FIA European Rally Championship and the ERC Tarmac Masters Series.
You can keep up to date with Craig’s 2015 season by visiting www.craigbreen.com or www.peugeot-sport.com