Mon 27 Jun 2022

Safari struggles fail to knock Breen’s spirit

Craig Breen remains undeterred by last weekend’s difficult Safari Rally Kenya debut in which he was unable to fight for a podium place.

The Irishman ran as high as fourth on the first full day of competition before retiring his Puma Rally1 with steering damage on Friday’s final stage.

He returned the following day and nursed the car through more problems on the last two legs to climb to sixth. He now lies fifth in the FIA World Rally Championship standings, just two points off a share of third place.

“I’d never been to Kenya before, but I’d watched all the videos of what this event is about and it was a real experience,” he said.

“Being here in the country with these people and the atmosphere around the event has been great. It’s an incredible rally and country and I look forward to coming back.

“I was enjoying it, especially on Friday I was really enjoying it. But to be honest the last two days have been that much of a struggle I have just been wanting to get to the finish and get the points.

“It was a completely different challenge compared to what I have ever done before. There was a litany of little things which have held us back and we had to change the approach to the whole thing already from Saturday.”

Breen is hoping to put his Safari issues behind him and look forward to next month’s Rally Estonia, round seven of the FIA World Rally Championship. He has excelled on the Baltic country’s fast gravel roads previously, finishing second in both 2020 and 2021.

“This is the first of three rallies that I have done consistently for the last couple of years so I hope this will be the start of a good run and we can get back to where we were in Sardinia,” added Breen, who finished second on the Italian island earlier this month.

“We haven’t done a test since early May before Portugal so I’m looking forward to getting a text next weekend in Estonia.”

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