Belfast Telegraph

Kris Meeke is staying cool but Breen suffers crash

By Sammy Hamill

Kris Meeke safely negotiated the shakedown stage ahead of the start of Rally Finland - but Craig Breen did not.

Just like Meeke in Poland three weeks ago, Circuit of Ireland winner Breen crashed heavily on his first run over the three-kilometre test stage, his R5 Peugeot 208 rolling three times and ending up in the roadside trees.

Breen and co-driver Scott Martin were unhurt but the car was severely damaged, forcing his French Sainteloc team into a hectic re-build. They made it just in time for last night's opening spectator stage in Jyvaskyla.

Breen explained that a front tyre came off the rim as he steered into a fast right-hand corner, causing the wheel to dig into the gravel and flip the car over. "It happened so suddenly there was nothing I could do," he said.

Meeke, meanwhile, ensured there was no repeat of his Polish crash, taking just three runs through the shakedown test and settling for the sixth quickest time. His Citroen team-mate Mads Ostberg was fastest ahead of Volkswagen's Andreas Mikkelsen and Ford's Robert Kubica.

Hyundai's Thierry Neuville was another to crash but he, too, made the start as did Monaghan's British champion Daniel McKenna, whose R3 Citroen suffered a bent rear axle.

Locally, the former Shackleton army base at Ballykelly is the venue for tomorrow's Dogleap Rally with Northern Ireland champion Derek McGarrity down to head the starting list. But, having sold his S14 Subaru, he is hoping to drive a new R4 production Impreza if it arrives in time.

Alan McGeehan is listed at two in a WRC Toyota but may drive one of the McGeehan team's WRC Minis with George Robinson at three, Martin Cairns at four and Joe McGonigle at five. Motorbike ace Michael Dunlop is also expected to take part in his Ford Escort.

Belfast Telegraph

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