Breen leads in Ypres but fellow Irish drivers struggle
Craig Breen edged into the lead at the end of the first loop of stages on the Ypres Rally in Belgium yesterday.
Winner of the last three rounds of the European Championship, including the Circuit of Ireland, Breen has an eight-second lead over former Monte Carlo Rally winner Bryan Bouffier and is almost nine ahead of former Belgian champion Kris Princen.
But for the first three stages he trailed his Peugeot Academy team-mate of last year, Kevin Abbring. The Dutchman, part of Hyundai's World championship squad but driving a Citroen DS3 on a one-off ERC outing, was faster than Breen, opening up a six-second lead. But a puncture dropped him back to fifth.
While Breen led, his fellow Irish drivers were struggling.
Josh Moffett was eighth, hampered by a misfiring engine in his Ford Fiesta, and brother Sam was 13th and fortunate to still be in the rally after his Fiesta went into a field. Marty McCormack had been as high as sixth but his Skoda overshot a junction and climbed a bank. He came 11th.