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Sat 29 Apr 2023

Kelly dedicates Junior WRC win to compatriot Breen

Eamonn Kelly has dedicated his FIA Junior WRC victory at last week’s Croatia Rally to role model and fellow Irishman Craig Breen.

Kelly may only be in his rookie season of Junior WRC, but he’s already making waves after taking victory on his second outing at Croatia Rally.

The 24-year-old won the M-Sport Poland Ford Fiesta Rally3 category by 30.8sec from Tom Rensonnet after frontrunning duo William Creighton and Laurent Pellier both hit trouble and retired.

Speaking after the three-day fixture, Kelly dedicated his triumph to fellow countryman Craig Breen, who passed away in a testing accident before the rally.

“It’s pretty special given the week we’ve had,” Kelly said. “Obviously it’s been a tough week for everyone in the motorsport world, especially in Ireland. It’s really, really nice to be here and I hope it brings a small bit of positivity after what has been a hard week.

“Craig was such a credit to our sport in Ireland. Literally just two weeks ago we spent the day in Galway in Ireland with young 14-year-old drivers and he was there to support that. He would have been delighted and would have been one of the first people to congratulate us.

“Like I said, I just hope it brings a small bit of positivity to a lot of people. As I said at the finish line, this is dedicated to him,” he added.

Kelly revealed how a consistent approach paid dividends in Croatia. Having ended Friday’s opening leg down in fifth overall, he climbed to third by the end of day two and moved into lead with just one stage remaining.

“Our plan worked quite well because we knew after stage one that it wasn’t going to be simple,” he explained. “It’s a credit to the guys like Laurent and William who are on such a big, big pace, but it’s the WRC - anything can happen and you need to be consistent. Thankfully that worked for us.”

Junior WRC - Croatia Rally Highlights