Dominant Breen celebrates WRC recall with first Belgian victory in Ypres Rally
Craig Breen added the Ypres Rally to his impressive run of successes this season, totally dominating the historic Belgian event across the rural roads of Flanders.
Already the winner of four rounds of the Irish Tarmac Championship plus victory in the Italian Sanremo Rally, Breen and co-driver Paul Nagle celebrated their call up to the Hyundai World Championship team for Rally Finland by steering their R5 Volkswagen Polo to a 45-second win over Dutchman Kevin Abbring with Belgian Kris Princen third.
It was an all VW top three with Breen, a winner in Ford Fiestas and a Skoda Fabia this year, describing the Polo supplied by Bernard Munster's BMA team as the best R5 car he has driven.
"It was sublime and gave me the perfect platform to finally get a Ypres win under my belt," said the former Citroen WRC driver from Waterford. "It is a very tricky rally and I've had bad luck here before so it was nice to add another iconic event to my bucket list."
However, the other Irish crews chasing points in the British Championship, struggled to cope with the deceptive road conditions and extreme heat, none of them making it through the two days unscathed.
Marty McCormack was in the top 10 and second of the BRC contenders after the first leg but put his Skoda off the road on the first of the Saturday stages and was forced to retire.
Young Ulster drivers have dominated the British Junior series but Belgium proved a challenge too far with all of them, including Josh McErlean who has won twice this season, suffering problems.
William Creighton survived better than most to take third place BRC points but he was some 11 minutes behind winner James Williams who had an eight-minute advantage over Ruairi Bell in second. Jordan Hone was classified in fourth but was 40 minutes behind such was the problems he encountered.
Meanwhile, Josh Moffett extended his lead in the Triton Showers Irish National Championship by winning the Raven's Rock Rally. In a WRC Ford Fiesta one-two, Moffett finished 18 seconds ahead of Roy White.
They were almost three minutes ahead of the Ford Escort of third placed Richard Moore.