Ireland’s Crag Breen and his co-driver Scott Martin put in a superb display on the third day of Rallye Sweden for the Citroen Racing WRC Team.
Following a fantastic performance on Friday which saw the Waterford native finish the day on the snow in fifth place overall, Breen moved up the order on Saturday to end the day in second place overall behind rally leader Hyundai’s Thierry Neuville.
Breen who goes into the final day of Rallye Sweden just 22s behind Neuville took another stage victory on Saturday on SS12, taking their third stage win of the weekend.
Speaking following his day in the car, Breen commented by saying:
I’m over the moon with my day and delighted with the pace we’ve shown. It’s something new for me to be fighting at the front in the world championship but you quickly get a taste for it! The afternoon was incredible for us, even though I couldn’t keep pace with Thierry right to the end. You can count on me to fight every step of the way to hold onto this second place.
While Breen flew in the leading Citroen C3 WRC, his team mate Mads Ostberg goes into the final day of the event in fifth place overall and speaking following his run he commented by saying:
Given that I’m still working out how best to set up the C3 WRC, I have to be pleased with what we have done so far. Rather than attempting to change everything in the middle of the race, which is always risky, we kept to the basic set-up defined in testing. I’m now trying to improve in my handling of the car as we complete more stages.
Kris Meeke was forced to retire from the day of action on Saturday but will be back on the road on Sunday under WRC2 regulations.
Speaking following the action, Meeke commented by saying:
Initially, I thought I was only going to lose about twenty seconds in this snow bank, but when I got going again, the car had no power. Snow had got into the engine and damaged the turbo. We had been focusing on getting tenth place up to that point and it seems like a heavy price to pay for such a minor mistake. Fresh snow forecast for tomorrow and we’ll be opening the road, so unfortunately, we don’t even have a realistic chance of getting any points on the Power Stage.
Citroen Racing Team Principal Pierre Budar commented on the day of action by saying:
It has been a very positive day for us, with Craig moving up into second place after a solid performance, which confirms why we rate him so highly. We have to also congratulate Mads on his performance. He has managed to hold onto fifth place despite his lack of experience in the car. I’m disappointed, however, for Kris who didn’t deserve such an outcome, given the focused and committed performance he had produced up to that point. We must now keep going and bring home the result tomorrow, because the gaps remain very small between the top five.