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Craig Breen excited to go on Safari as he brings his rally car to Kenya


Craig Breen will be kicking up the dust in Kenya

Craig Breen will be kicking up the dust in Kenya

Craig Breen will be kicking up the dust in Kenya

For teams, drivers and navigators, the World Rally Championship is one big adventure – but the biggest adventure of them all takes place this weekend on the wildlife-filled savannah of Safari Rally Kenya.

Rocky and rutted dirt roads that weave their way through the picture postcard scenery are what lie in store at round six of the WRC, with these quickly turning into muddy trails if – as the forecast suggests – rain arrives.


Craig Breen

Craig Breen

Craig Breen

Experience, therefore, is going to count for much on this classic – something M-Sport Ford’s Craig Breen is in short supply of. The Irishman has never competed on its stages, many of which are similar to last year when the event returned to the series following a near 20-year absence.

“I am very much looking forward to Kenya and discovering what seems to be quite the adventure. For me, I will be discovering a new continent as I have never been to Africa before,” explained Breen, who is fourth in the overall standings courtesy of a runner-up finish on Rally Italia Sardegna at the start of the month.

“The Safari Rally is an incredibly prestigious and historic event that I have watched many times on the TV as a kid, so I cannot wait to see what it is all about.

“It will be a huge challenge for all the crews, but we have prepared well. Sardinia went well, and we want to try to carry that rhythm forward to here.”

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The Sardinia drive was an important one for Breen as he appeared to lose his way in Sweden, Croatia and Portugal – three events that yielded a disappointing 19 points for him and navigator Paul Nagle.

“For sure, that performance will not make the situation any worse going to the Safari Rally,” he said.

“It will definitely make us feel better. Safari will be completely new for me. I am looking forward to it.

“It will be a big challenge. I’ve heard how the guys got on there last year. It will be a proper challenge – an adventure – and I am all about the adventure of running in the World Championship.

“It’s an incredibly hard and difficult event – much different to all the other events. It’s all about being intelligent: preserving the car, being fast when you can be fast and being slow when you need to be,” he added.

The rally begins proper this lunchtime (12.08pm) when crews tackle a short Super Special north east of Nairobi. On yesterday’s shakedown stage, Championship leader Kalle Rovanpera was fastest by half-a-second in his Toyota GR Yaris from the Hyundai i20 N of Thierry Neuville.

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