Abu Dhabi Racing’s Craig Breen secured his second consecutive win on the Circuit of Ireland Rally, round two of the 2016 FIA European Rally Championship in his Citroen DS3 R5 this afternoon crossing the finish line 10.6 seconds ahead of his old ERC rival Kajetan Kajetanowicz. The Irishman and his co-driver Scott Martin also secured the win here last year in a Peugeot 208 T16.
Breen came into the final leg with an advantage of over 25 seconds over Kajetanowicz but his decision to go with a super-soft Michelin tyre for the morning loop backfired on the relatively dry stages and the Irishman’s lead was cut to just over ten seconds by service. Breen extended his advantage on stage 11 but there was drama to follow on the next test as the Irishman clipped a rock and damaged a wheel, the end result was he headed into the final two stages with a lead of just 5.2 seconds. The Citroen driver didn’t panic and successfully completed the final two stages.
“I have to thank everybody for making this possible. So happy now, really can’t believe it.” said the Irishman, “We’ve made it so difficult, I just wanted to win it so badly. I felt it slipping from my grasp early today, we really had to dig deep.”
Kajetanowicz had a comfortable 45 second advantage over Alastair Fisher in third at the finish and the result gives him a massive points haul over pre-event championship leader Alexey Lukyanuk, who didn’t start the event due to a crash in testing. Josh Moffett secured fourth overall and top finish in the British Rally Championship despite a late scare with a braking problem on his Ford Fiesta R5. There was heartbreak for Jaromir Tarabus who stopped on the final stage of the event while running fifth overall.
Wojciech Chuchala secured the ERC2 rally by over eight minutes in his Subaru Impreza Sti. In the ERC Junior rally Marijan Griebel lost his lead in the Opel Adam R2 after a puncture on SS8 and it was Polish driver Lukasz Pieniazek who won the event in his Adam R2 11.5 seconds ahead of Britain’s Chris Ingram.
The ERC moves on to Greece for the Acropolis Rally starting on May 6.