Craig Breen untouchable on final stages

Craig Breen strengthened his position at the top of the European Rally Championship with his third straight win in the series.

Craig Breen untouchable on final stages

Although he finished the Sata Rally Acores on the island of Sao Miguel with a winning margin of just over a minute, he was embroiled in a furious battle with title rival Kajetan Kajetanowicz (Ford Fiesta RRC) for most of the event. Stage 13 proved decisive as Breen took his lead beyond 10 seconds for the first time.

The Waterford driver has now opened up a 14 points advantage over his Polish rival.

The Monaghan/Cork pairing of Sam Moffett/Karl Atkinson (Ford Fiesta RRC) finished seventh.

On the opening three stages of the penultimate leg Breen and Kajetanowicz traded times with the latter moving within 6.7 seconds after S.S. 7 as Breen endured a few spins.

However, the Waterford driver dominated the remaining stages and ended the leg with a lead of 2.3 seconds. Josh Moffett’s fine drive ended just after the finish of S.S. 5 when he ripped the rear wheel from his Fiesta RRC following an altercation with the metal barriers when he ran wide, his brother Sam in a similar car was seventh.

On the opening stage (S.S.12) of the final leg that was foggy through the first section, Breen lost time and although Kajetanowicz, who seemed to pick the wrong tyres, closed to within half a second, Breen was confident ahead of the remaining stages of the loop. Justifying that belief, he took a decisive lead on S.S. 13 where Kajetanowicz again struggled with tyres and fell 15.8 seconds behind. Commenting his Peugeot Academy 208 T16 had a lack of grip through S.S. 14, Breen lost 3.9 seconds to his rival while Sam Moffett continued to hold seventh place.

On the final three stages Breen, with fresh tyres, was untouchable and by the final stage Kajetanowicz, who had gambled with an opposite tyre choice to Breen, had seemingly settled for second. The Waterford ace began the stage with a lead of 24.9 seconds before finishing with a victory margin of a minute and 2.1 seconds. Moffett finished seventh.

In the Junior category, Northern Ireland’s Jon Armstrong (Peugeot 208R2) and his Killarney co-driver Noel O’Sullivan lost time with a technical problem on S.S. 11 and then crashed out on S.S. 12.

Meanwhile, Niall Quinn and Michael Cullen won a race apiece at the Seat Supercup Ireland Championship at Mondello Park. In the first race, Quinn had a relatively easy passage after Niall Murray stalled at the start line when his car slipped out of gear. Murray recovered to finish third and also set the fastest lap. John Farrelly was second. In race two, Michael Cullen, who was off pole in a reverse grid managed to fend off a late challenge from Brian Berry, who was stymied when he caught a backmarker. Niall Quinn, who completed the podium line up, moves into the lead of the series – a point ahead of pre-event leader Cullen. In Formula Vee, Ray Moore beat Dan Polly.

Elsewhere, in the British Touring Car Championship, Jason Plato (Volkswagen CC) took a brace of wins with Sam Tordoff (BM 125i Sport) winning the third race. Aron Smith (VW CC) had his best result – fifth – in the first race while sixth in the third race was Colin Turkington’s (VW CC) top performance.

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