Resilient Breen battles to regain Azores lead
Craig Breen dragged himself back into the lead after a ferocious fight with arch-rival Kajetan Kajetanowicz at the end of the second leg of the Azores Rally.
Leader for the first six stages of the European championship encounter on the mid-Atlantic island, Breen dropped to second place when he spun his Peugeot twice on the signature 28-kilometre Sete Cidades stage.
The mistakes allowed the Pole to edge in front in his Ford Fiesta but Breen set four more fastest times in the afternoon, including the re-run of Sete Cidades, to reclaim the lead, albeit by just 2.3 seconds.
"It has been a fantastic fight with Kajto, just like we had on the Circuit of Ireland," said Breen. "The stages have been very difficult and I made a couple of mistakes but it is all good now."
Not so good for his fellow Irish driver Josh Moffett. He had made a strong start in only his second ERC rally and was in fourth place with the fourth fastest time on stage four until he crashed after the flying finish line, tearing a wheel off his Fiesta.
His brother Sam took a more cautious approach and was in seventh place last night. A disappointing qualifying stage on Thursday saw him having to run second on the road, sweeping the loose gravel for the later runners like Breen, and he also lost time when he found the road blocked by the crashed Peugeot of Giacomo Costenaro.
Struggling, too, was Jon Armstrong, the 20-year-old Kesh driver back in 34th place in his R2 Peugeot after a puncture and road penalties.