Belfast Telegraph

Craig Breen back on board for Citroen's World Rally Championship tilt

By Sammy Hamill

Circuit of Ireland Rally winner Craig Breen has even more reason to celebrate - he has been called into the Abu Dhabi Citroen team for the World championship round in Poland later in the season.

Breen will replace Kris Meeke, who leads the team in Portugal next month but skips Poland in July to concentrate on the development of Citroen's new car for 2017.

It was always Citroen's plan to rotate their drivers in what is officially a gap year for them while work continues on the development and test programme for the new C3 car.

Meeke drove in Monte Carlo alongside Stephane Lefebvre and was joined by Breen for Rally Sweden.

He was expected to contest several more of the European-based WRC rounds.

The Rally Argentina winner from Dungannon will be in Portugal, with Lefebvre and Khalid Al Qassimi as his team-mates, but will sit out Sardinia and Poland as Citroen prioritise their test programme, which is being led by Meeke.

It means a second chance for Breen, who impressed on his first drive in a WRC Citroen DS3 in the Swedish snow, finishing eighth.

Frenchman Lefebvre will be the second driver in Poland where Breen may well come up against Kajetan Kajetanowicz, the Polish champion he beat for the second year in a row on the Circuit of Ireland at the weekend.

Meanwhile, several other Irish drivers enjoyed British championship success on the Circuit, including Patrick O'Brien, Marty Gallagher and Rob Duggan.

O'Brien, the 18-year-old Irish junior forestry champion from Omagh, who was making his Circuit debut, won the production class (BRC2) in his Mitsubishi Evo and Gallagher, from Letterkenny, won the BRC4 category in his Ford Fiesta with Callum Devine second in his Opel Adam.

Duggan, from Killarney, is a member of the Vauxhall team, and won the junior division (BRC1) in his little R2 Adam ahead of his Swedish team-mate Mattias Adielsson.

Adam Bustard, who had chosen to play his double points joker, was third despite his Opel breaking a driveshaft on the first stage.

The big BRC winner, of course, was Josh Moffett who finished fourth overall in his R5 Ford Fiesta and moves into second place in the overall standings behind Welshman Elfyn Evans, who crashed out of the rally. Jonny Greer is up to third following his fifth-place finish.

Moffett also took over the lead in the Irish Tarmac championship and is now four points ahead of Keith Cronin, who saw his Circuit bid end with a first-stage crash.

Alastair Fisher, who was third overall behind Breen and Kajetanowicz, is in third place, two points behind Cronin heading into round four, the Rally of the Lakes early next month.

Jonny Greer, Stephen Wright and Sam Moffett, who crashed on the final leg of the Circuit, share fourth in the standings.

Derek McGarrity's win in the national rally saw the six-time champion move into the lead in the Northern Ireland championship ahead of round three, the Tour of the Sperrins on May 7.

Belfast Telegraph


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