Sun 19 Mar 2023

ERC plays its part as Breen’s speed resurgence continues

The FIA European Rally Championship has played its part in helping Craig Breen continue his return to top form.

Aside from two FIA World Rally Championship podium finishes, Breen endured a season of struggle in 2022 but delivered a sensational performance on Sweden’s WRC counter last month, a firm demonstration that he’d recaptured his old speed.

And his career renaissance continued on Rally Serras de Fafe, Felgueiras, Boticas, Vieira do Minho e Cabeceiras de Basto – the opening event of the 2023 ERC season last weekend – as he charged to six stage wins, including the fastest time on the event-deciding Power Stage.

“It's been a while but I just feel very confident at the moment,” Breen said following the finish in Fafe. “I’ve got a good bunch of people around me and Sports&You and Hyundai Portugal have done a really good job, we had great speed and the car has been working perfectly.”

Breen, who was restricted to sixth in the final classification alongside co-driver James Fulton due to a damaged tyre on stage seven, was competing in Fafe as part of his Portuguese championship campaign, which he’s contesting alongside his WRC bid with Hyundai Mobis Shell World Rally Team.

But he was fortunate to reach the finish in Fafe after a dramatic moment on stage 14 when he was tipped onto two wheels for close on 80 metres.

“It went on a while, I didn’t know what was going to happen, I didn’t know if it was going to come back down again, that was the worst thing,” said the 33-year-old, a five-time ERC event winner. “I obviously couldn’t turn into it because it would have rolled and I couldn’t turn out of it because the bank was there so I just had to keep going with it. It was not a nice feeling, I just got stuck in a rut in a fast place and that’s what happened.”

Starts: Thursday, July 18, 2024 at 4:31:00 AM
Starts: Friday, July 26, 2024 at 7:00:00 AM
Starts: Saturday, July 27, 2024 at 6:00:00 AM