Motorsport's Breen ducks Donegal to turn focus on Belgium
Craig Breen will be an absentee when the Joule Donegal International Rally gets underway today.
The Circuit of Ireland winner and European Championship leader has withdrawn to concentrate on next week's Ypres Rally in Belgium.
The planned Donegal appearance was only ever a "fun run" on Ireland's most popular rally for the Peugeot Academy driver, scheduled to drive a Mk2 Ford Escort, but Breen has been advised to focus on his ERC commitments and will, like the Moffett brothers, Sam and Josh, head for Belgium over the weekend to prepare for Thursday's start in Ypres.
After that Breen, who has also won in Latvia and the Azores this season, will return to Ireland for the Orchard Motorsport Lurgan Park Rally on July 4. He will join the line-up in the same James Coleman-owned Escort he intended to drive in Donegal.
The Lurgan entry list includes Garry Jennings, winner for the last two years, Kenny McKinstry, the record 11-times winner, Derek McGarrity and Kevin Kelleher - all in Subarus.
Also taking to the park lanes - he hopes - will be Robert Woodside in the powerful Tuthill Porsche 911 R-GT which he drove on the Circuit of Ireland. Former World championship winner Francois Delecour is scheduled to drive the car in Ypres and provided it comes through unscathed will be shipped back to its base in England and then to Lurgan.
British champion Daniel McKenna was also a non-starter in Donegal. He was listed to drive the new Toyota GT86, being developed by the David Greer Motorsport team, but it hasn't been possible to repair the car in time for today's start after an accident during a test session earlier in the week
On the racing front, Motorsport Ireland Young Driver of the Year Jonny McMullan will make his first visit of two visits to the Brands Hatch Indy circuit this weekend for rounds seven and eight of the UK National Formula Ford championship. He is second in the championship, one point behind leader Patrick Dussault.