Craig Breen has admitted he has a lot to learn at his test for the upcoming Tour de Corse - Rallye de France, after a planned warm-up at the British Championship Rally Isle of Man ended early with engine failure.
The Abu Dhabi Total team driver was at the wheel of an R5-spec Citroën DS3 at last weekend's notoriously challenging event, with the aim of building asphalt mileage before his sealed-surface World Rally Car debut in Corsica at the end of the month.
Things started well for the Irishman, with a fastest time on Thursday's opening stage, but it was all over later that night when an engine failure brought his car to a halt midway through the third stage.
"We went there for the mileage and I think we got about 10 miles of competition before the engine stopped, so the event was pretty much null and void," Breen told wrc.com.
"The first stage on the promenade was okay, but when we got to the first real stage everything felt a bit alien. I tested the car for only 15 or 20km beforehand, and having driven the WRC spec car all year it was tough to step back again. My notes were a bit too slow, they were more suited to a WRC car, and when I arrived at less speed they just didn't add up. That took some getting used to, but by the third stage I was getting into a rhythm - and then it was all over."
Breen is now focused on the test in Corsica on Sunday (25 September) before his fourth outing this year with the Abu Dhabi Total team.
"I'll try to made the most of that now. I've never competed on Tarmac in a World Rally Car so I have a lot of new things to learn as quickly as I can," he said. "It's obviously going to be a big step up - even though Tarmac is my preferred road surface. It's pretty much what I grew up competing on in Ireland."
Victory at Rally Isle of Man went to WRC 2 leader Elfyn Evans, who rounded off a successful British Championship campaign with his fifth victory from seven rallies.