Although Swede Andersson reported no major problems after the opening four stages, Irishman Breen lost a chunk of time with a puncture on Wednesday’s final test. Despite that delay, Breen isn’t giving up hope.
“The rally is still long, we’re now three minutes behind Andersson but the aim is to finish and score as many points as we can and bring home as much experience as possible,” said Breen.
Giandomenico Basso had been expected to battle for SWRC victory in the second works Proton only to crash out on the opening stage, injuring a finger in the process.
“It was difficult to see with the sun on the visor,” said the Italian. “With no [Rally 2] available [on this event] it is finished for me and I am sorry for the team because they have worked very hard. The car is much better than last year.”
Pole Michal Kosciuszko holds a handsome advantage in the Production Car World Rally Championship section despite reporting his Mitsubishi Lancer suffered from a loss of brakes on both runs through the Burzet-St Martial stage.
“In two stages we experience so many different road conditions - it’s unbelievable,” said Kosciuszko. “But we’re now leading PWRC which is very good and my pace is getting better and better.”
British rookie Louise Cook completes the PWRC runners in her Ford Fiesta after Lorenzo Bertelli retired with a gearbox fault on stage one. Cook bemoaned intercom, pace note and tyre selection problems on her Rallye Monte-Carlo debut.