Belfast Telegraph

Craig Breen ready to kickstart his European title bid

By Sammy Hamill

For Craig Breen, it may be his final chance to get his European championship challenge back on track when he contests the Cyprus Rally which starts with the qualifying stage this afternoon.

Since he won the Acropolis Rally way back in April, Ireland's former World S2000 champion has scored just seven points, a combination of reliability issues with his Peugeot Academy 208 T16 and a Barum Rally accident seeing him slip from first to third in the ERC standings.

Breen now trails Circuit of Ireland winner Esapekka Lappi by 53 points and he is 34 points behind the second Skoda driver, Sepp Wiegand.

But neither of the leading pair are in the Cyprus line-up and, indeed, the decision to send Breen was made very late in the day by Peugeot and it sees the Irish driver slotted into the entry list at No.13.

Breen says he isn't superstitious and is just happy to have this extra chance to get himself back in the title fight.

"I haven't had a great deal of luck since the Acropolis Rally so maybe No.13 will turn things around for me," he laughed.

"I've had good pace all year round but haven't been able to turn it into results for one reason or another.

"I'm delighted Peugeot decided to fit this extra round into the schedule and, hopefully, I can repay them with a strong performance."

Although Skoda have opted to stay away, there is still an impressive line-up in Cyprus headed by two drivers whose focus is the Middle East championship, not the ERC.

The list is headed by Khalid Al Qassimi and Ulster co-driver Chris Patterson in their Citroen RRC with Yazeed Al Rahji and another Ulster co-driver Michael Orr at No.2 in their R5 Ford Fiesta.

Middle East championship leader Nasser Al Attiyah is also in the list in another Fiesta but Poland's Kajetan Kajetanowicz, fourth in the ERC standings, will be Breen's main concern.

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