Belfast Telegraph

Breen emulates Hopkirk with historic Acropolis Rally victory

By Sammy Hamill

Craig Breen turned the clock back almost half a century to become only the second Irish driver to win the Acropolis Rally.

His victory, by eight seconds over former Monte Carlo Rally winner Bryan Bouffier, was also a landmark success for the 24-year-old from Waterford – his first in the European championship and the first for the new Peugeot 208 T16.

Not since Paddy Hopkirk back in 1967 has Ireland had a winner on the historic Greek event but Breen showed supreme maturity and skill as he led from the fifth stage on Saturday through to the finish in Loutraki yesterday, holding off the challenge of the experienced Bouffier in his Citroen DS3 and the Ford Fiesta of Poland's Kajetan Kajetanowicz.

Breen initially held second place behind his Peugeot Academy team-mate Kevin Abbring but the Dutchman was forced to retire when his car overheated.

But Breen had no problems with the new Peugeot on its international debut and set four fastest times in a well-judged performance that lifts him to second in the ERC standings ahead of his home round of the series, the Circuit of Ireland, in three weeks' time.

"I'm ecstatic, not just for myself but for Scott and the whole Peugeot team," said Breen. "To win first time out in the new car is fantastic, better than a dream come true. It is hard to take it in. Roll on the Circuit!"

Finland's Easpekka Lappi finished in fourth place for Skoda and still leads the points table after three rounds.

Belfast Telegraph


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