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Breen out in the cold as Citroen cut to two cars

 

By Sammy Hamill

Craig Breen will have to find a new team if he is to stay in the World Rally Championship next year.

On a weekend of double disappointment for the two-time Circuit of Ireland winner he heard officially that his current three-year contract is not being extended, with the French manufacturer running just two cars in next year's WRC series.

The news came on the back of long-term sponsors Abu Dhabi withdrawing their support.

Having already signed six-time World champion Sebastien Ogier from M-Sport Ford and recruited Esapekka Lappi from Toyota, there is no room for Breen.

It also appears to mean there will no further Citroen appearances by their former record-breaking World champion Sebastien Loeb even though he was their only winner in 2018 with his sensational comeback victory in Spain.

There had been strong talk that Breen might be retained to share a third car with Loeb who had stated he was only interested in a part programme in 2019.

Breen would have been well aware of the Citroen situation before he returned home at the weekend to drive his personal Metro 6R4 as a sweeper car at the Killarney Historic Rally.

But much as he was looking forward to tackling the classic Kerry stages again "just for fun" that, too, ended in disappointment when the Metro suffered a broken propshaft on only the third stage.

His Citroen team-mate Kris Meeke, moving to Toyota to replace Lappi, was also home and in ebullient mood at the Celebration of Motorsport dinner at the Culloden Hotel, which raised over £45,000 for charity.

Happy to be free of the Citroen turmoil, he offered the chance to sit with him during a Toyota test session. And the "lucky" winner was... former Irish Tarmac champion Garry Jennings!

Meanwhile, the Killarney Historic Rally was won by Owen Murphy in his Lotus Sunbeam, holding off the Ford Escort of 2017 winner Mark Falvey by just over a second.

Belfast Telegraph

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