Motorsport: Breen and Martin take fifth at Rally Sweden

For the second time in succession, Craig Breen/Scott Martin were the top finishers for the Citroen Total Abu Dhabi WRT as they brought their Citroen C3 WRC to fifth spot at the end of Rally Sweden, the second round of the World Rally Championship.

Their team-mates, Kris Meeke/Paul Nagle had to be content with 12th after they lost more than eight minutes when they slid into a snow bank on the penultimate leg.

Finland’s Jari Matti Latvala (Toyota Yaris WRC) won the event — he finished 29.2 seconds ahead of the Ford Fiesta WRC of Ott Tanak. 

Latvala also claimed maximum bonus points from the Power Stage to take a four point lead in the WRC — the first time any driver other than four-time champion Sebastien Ogier has led the championship since February 2014.

Breen moved into seventh on S.S.7 on Saturday and made no errors and with Meeke slipping down the order and Thierry Neuville (Hyundai WRC) losing the lead, Breen ended the day in fifth and yesterday got through the three stages without incident.

Having started Saturday’s action in fourth, Meeke lost a place on the opening stage (SS9) even though he was happy enough with his driving and his Citroen C3 WRC, he wasn’t able to match the pace of the leaders. 

Then on SS14 he missed a corner and his car fell into a snow-filled ditch. Aided by spectators he managed to get the car back on stage although he dropped more than eight minutes.

Meanwhile, the opening round of the Valvoline Irish Forest Rally series, the Willie Loughman Forest Rally in Carrick-on-Suir ended in a thrilling finish as Monaghan’s Josh Moffett (Fiesta R5) held off a final-stage challenge from brother Sam to win by six-tenths of a second. 

Keith Cronin debuted a Fiesta R5 and finished third — 21.1 seconds further behind.

Sam Moffett led through the opening four stages where he was five seconds quicker than his younger brother while Marty McCormack (Skoda Fabia R5) and Keith Cronin were next on the leaderboard.

On the penultimate stage, a 22km test, Josh Moffett went 6.3 seconds in front with Sam admitting that his Fiesta ran wide on the early junctions.

Cronin slotted into third as he continued to adjust to the new car where braking points were the key aspect of his drive.

Henry, despite a puncture, slotted into fourth with McCormack in fifth.

The repeat of the stage was shortened and ran late and in a cliff-hanging finish Josh Moffett took the spoils by a fraction of a second from his brother Sam.

Cronin came home third. Down’s David Crossen (Escort) won the two-wheel drive category.

On Saturday, Carryduff driver Jonny Greer (Citroen DS3 R5) won the Pacenotes Rally at Kirkistown.

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