Rally of Scotland: Future looks bright for young gun Breen
Craig Breen confirmed his status as the brightest of Ireland’s rising young rally stars with a superb fourth place on Britain’s round of the Intercontinental Challenge, the Rally of Scotland.
Winner of the British championship Rally NI last year, the 23-year-old from Waterford splashed his way through the rain-sodden Scottish forests in his privateer S2000 Ford Fiesta to achieve the best international result of his burgeoning career.
Breen, who is concentrating this season on the World championship Academy feeder series — he is second going into the final round — finished hard on the heels of a trio of factory-supported cars, the Skodas of winner Andreas Mikkelsen and reigning IRC champion Juha Hanninen with Peugeot’s Bryan Bouffier in third.
A measure of Breen’s performance were the drivers finishing behind him in fifth and sixth places — current IRC championship leader Jan Kopecky (Skoda) and Sanremo Rally winner Thierry Neuville (Peugeot).
“It has been an incredible weekend and fourth was more than I could have hoped for in a line-up like this,” said Breen.
“The car was really struggling towards the end with a broken manifold and a noisy rear differential but we made it. It’s onwards and upwards from here.”
Alastair Fisher added to the impressive Irish showing, the young Trillick driver recovering to eighth after losing close to three minutes when his Fiesta broke a front driveshaft on Saturday.
He was close to matching Breen’s times and, but for tackling two stages with rear-wheel-drive only, would have made the top six.
Two more Irish drivers were in the top 20, Jonny Greer taking 12th and Robert Barrable 16th in their Skodas.