With three assertive victories on different surface types to its name from the five ERC rounds contested so far, the 208T16 continues its European campaign with this weekend’s Auto 24 Rally Estonia. Led by the championship’s provisional leader Craig Breen, and with Diogo Gago also out in his 208 R2, the Peugeot Rally Academy is targeting a return to its winning ways.
The Rally Estonia, round six of the 2015 FIA ERC, is reputed for its exceptionally fast stages and Craig Breen and Scott Martin will be looking to resume their sequence of successes after the bitter blow they took last month in Ypres. Despite their speed on the Belgian lanes, Craig and Scott were side-lined by an excursion into a field and, unsurprisingly, the Irishman will be out to make amends in Estonia:
Ypres was a huge disappointment. I just want to put it behind me and focus on Estonia. This is my second time on this event because I came here in 2011 with my friend Gareth Roberts who I miss so much. The stages are incredible. They are very fast, with lots of blind crests and plenty of jumps which are great fun. Once again, we will face some pretty stiff opposition with all the strong local drivers, but Scott and I are extremely fired up, as is everyone at the Peugeot Rally Academy. We’ve pulled out a bit of a cushion at the top of the championship standings and we need to keep the momentum going. We’ll give it our very best shot.
The entry list includes three other 208T16s, backed by Peugeot subsidiaries. Timmu Korge, who came third on this event in 2014, has support from Peugeot Baltic, while Peugeot Finland-backed Juha Salo, who has already won two rounds of his national championship, is targeting a strong result on stages that are not dissimilar to those to which he is accustomed back home. The third 208T16 driver – although not registered for the ERC – is Sweden’s Bjorn Adolfsson who has already steered his car to two victories in his own country this season.
Like his team-leader Craig Breen, Diogo Gago has his sights set high for his return to gravel, his favourite type of surface. After marking his first visit to Ypres by appearing as high as second in class before an ‘off’, the 2014 208 Rally Cup Junior winner is eager to secure a top finish in Estonia:
It’s another new event for me and its stages are very fast. They are like what we saw in Latvia, but without the snow! Our objective is the same as it always is on events that are new to me, and that is to finish in the top five of the FIA ERC Junior standings. This time we will need to reach the finish because that’s the only way to score points. There will be quite a few Scandinavian drivers but I showed in the Azores that I can finish on the podium in the 208 R2. Along with everyone at the Peugeot Rally Academy, we will be out to produce a top performance.
Of the 14 cars entered in the FIA ERC Junior class, 10 are 208 R2s, including the Peugeot-UK-backed entry of Chris Ingram who is second in the provisional standings.
1, CRAIG BREEN / SCOTT MARTIN (PEUGEOT 208 T16), 124 points. 2, Kajetan KAJETANOWICZ (Ford Fiesta R5), 103. 3, Robert CONSANI (Citroën DS3 R5), 55. 4, Alexey LUKYANUK (Ford Fiesta R5), 43. 5, Bruno MAGALHAES (PEUGEOT 208T16), 38. Etc.
1, Emil BERGKVIST (Opel Adam R2), 104 points. 2, Chris INGRAM (PEUGEOT 208 R2), 78. 3, Marijan GRIEBEL (Opel Adam R2), 64. 4, Steve ROKLAND (PEUGEOT 208 R2), 59. 5, DIOGO GAGO / JORGE CARVALHO (PEUGEOT 208 R2), 57 points. Etc.
Thursday, July 16: recce
Friday, July 17: Qualifying Stage and start of Leg 1
Saturday, July 18: Leg 1
Sunday, July 19: Leg 2