Not Craig Breen’s day in Kerry!
April 7, 2014 by Leo Nulty
The Fel’s Point Circuit of Kerry Rally was the perfect event for Peugeot Rally Academy driver Craig Breen and Peugeot Sport to acclimatize the new 208 T16 to the bumpy tarmac roads of Irish rallying ahead of the upcoming ERC Circuit of Ireland Rally round four of the FIA European Rally Championship 2014.
After a day testing in the Kerry Mountains prior to the event Craig, currently the FIA-ERC championship leader was confident that the car set-up was good for the terrain but the actual rally was going to be very tough as the stages were fast and would suit the fifteen higher powered world car entries better due to their higher top speed. From the start it was the reigning Dunlop Irish National Rally Champion Declan Boyle that was setting the pace, the Donegal man setting a time 5.5 seconds quicker than Craig on the rain soaked opening stage in his Impreza WRC with his championship rival Hugh Hunter in a similar car taking third spot 9.7 seconds behind Craig. Boyle seemed to find something in reserve and stretched his lead out to 30.8 seconds over the 19.3km of the stage two and again it was Hunter in third but never far away. Craig ran into trouble on stage three that saw the Peugeot Rally Academy driver drop precious time and finish the first loop of the three stages seventh overall. As the sun came out in beautiful Co. Kerry the cars left the service park repaired and replenished to begin the second loop of the same three stages. As the roads dried status quo resumed with Boyle topping the time sheets closely followed by Craig 10.5 seconds behind. However it was on stage five that Craig’s rally came to an end when he slid off the road on a bend and beached the 208 T16 in a gripe. Both Craig and his co-driver Scott were unhurt but they could not get the car back onto the road despite their best efforts.
Although very disappointing for Craig, Scott, Peugeot Sport and indeed the Kerry Motor Club, it was a weekend that saw thousands of rally fans from all over the country flock to Tralee to see the new Peugeot 208 T16 in action before the FIA ERC Circuit of Ireland Rally on April 17th – 19th. For Peugeot Sport it was a chance to test and compete with the new car on the often underestimated Irish roads that no doubt gave them valuable knowledge of how the car behaves on Irish stages. And finally, it gave Craig Breen some important seat time ahead of what has to be one of his most important events this year. You can keep up to date about Craig by visiting www.craigbreen.com or www.peugeot-sport.com