Breen Just Off A Podium Place Following A Strong Day 2 In Australia
Citroen Racing’s Craig Breen is up to fourth place overall in the Kennards Hire Rally Australia. The Waterford native had an extremely strong day 2 Down Under and as a result is just less than 25s off a podium place. Speaking following his day, Breen commented by saying:
We’ve had another good day. This morning, I found the Nambucca stage particularly difficult. But considering it was our first time on the stage, we didn’t do too badly up against the more experienced drivers. The afternoon loop was better, with drier conditions. We have moved up the standings due the misfortune of the others, but that’s part and parcel of racing. I’ll be ready to grab any opportunities to get onto the podium.
While Breen has been flying, there has been contrasting fortunes for his team mate Kris Meeke who was forced to retire from day 2 after damaging the rear suspension on the C3 WRC as a result of a slight touch with a bridge.
Meeke will be able to rejoin the rally on Sunday. Speaking following his day in the car, he commented by saying:
After a fast bend, there was a narrow bridge and we just touched it with the rear wheel. A few kilometres later, I felt that something wasn’t right. We stopped after the time control to try and repair the suspension. I wanted to keep going, but the team asked me to stop. It’s frustrating because in the end, the final long stage of the loop was cancelled. We’ve missed out on a good result.
Stephane Lefebvre finds himself in an M-Sport sandwich in seventh place overall just ahead of Eflyn Evans and just behind world champion Sebastien Ogier. Speaking following the second day he commented by saying:
The start of the day was tricky, in the rain. On Nambucca, I stalled after a spin and then it took some time to restart. After that, I completely lost the rhythm and I struggled until the end of the stage. Running third on the road was a real handicap and that’s what led to me taking a gamble with the soft tyres for the afternoon stages. It wasn’t a particularly astute choice in the end, because the tyres lost their efficiency as we went further through the loop.
Citroen Total Abu Dhabi Team Principal Yves Matton commented on the days action by saying:
The issue that Kris had is disappointing. The engineers felt that the damage suffered by the suspension meant that the car wouldn’t be able to contest SS14 with the required level of safety and so we asked Kris to stop. But we’ve really not had the rub of the green again, since the stage was then cancelled shortly afterwards… Kris will be back tomorrow under Rally2 rules, with the sole target of trying some new set-up options on the C3 WRC. Our young drivers have both had a good day, especially Craig who is still within half a minute of the podium places. Stéphane lost more time with a spin, but his other times were pretty decent considering he was running third on the road.