Waterford rally ace Craig Breen shone in England before returning home to win in the forests of Carrick-on-Suir – on the same weekend!
The 18-year old from Kilmurry is rapidly making a name for himself in the world of top-flight rallying and last Friday (27 February) he had flown to Bournemouth in Dorset for the Rallye Sunseeker. Craig was using the event as preparation for the first round of the Kick Energy Fiesta Sport Trophy UK, which starts in Cumbria this Saturday (7 March).
It was also his first time out in the car with co-driver, Gareth Roberts from Carmarthen in Wales.
The pair was instantly competitive, and as the day progressed Craig upped the pace to put him and Gareth in podium contention in the two-wheel drive category and take the lead in Class 2 - Group N. With their rivals fighting back, the result was close-run but they hung on to finish 3rd in the two-wheel drive category and seal a comfortable Class 2 victory.
Craig said, "We both enjoyed the day, especially as Gareth and I bonded quickly and worked well together. I don’t think the stages were ideal for the little Fiesta, as they were very fast and open. As good as the car handles, it couldn’t keep up with some of the bigger and faster cars. However, we’re both very happy and in good shape for the coming season".
With no time to savour the champagne, Craig and the team rushed back to the airport and flew home in order to contest the following day’s Carrick on Suir Forestry Rally - in a completely different car.
Craig had switched to the Citroen C2R2 with which he triumphed in the Mitchelstown Rally back in February, and as before he was immediately on the pace -“We were on fire. After Bournemouth and my success in the opening round of the Petro Systems National Junior Rally Championship, I was feeling confident.”
After the opening stage, Breen and Roberts led by 6 seconds from their closest rivals - John Byrne and Kenneth Shiels – which they then extended over the following stages to an unassailable 2 minute advantage. Such was Craig’s mastery of the forest that he was able to trade times with the faster cars and finish 7th overall – another excellent achievement for the youngster who only switched from karts to cars late last year.
"What can I say? What a weekend, perhaps?! Things just clicked between me, Gareth and the team, right from the word ‘go’. We carried our early Saturday morning pace in Bournemouth across the pond and did ourselves proud. I would like to thank Gareth, Tom Gahan and his fantastic crew of mechanics - without their commitment and phenomenal hard work none of this would have been possible."
He added, “I’ve now taken two maximum points scoring results in the National Junior Rally Championship and things are looking good for the future”.
This week, Craig heads to Greystoke Forest in Cumbria for two days testing prior to the Malcolm Wilson Rally, on 7 March.