Fresh from his second place finish at WRC Rallye Monte Carlo, Peugeot Rally Academy driver Craig Breen heads back to the European Rally Championship this week for round two “Rally Liepāja” (6th-8th February) in Latvia. Having twice previously finished on the second step of the podium using a Peugeot 207 S2000 here before it’s going to be a great opportunity for Craig and his co-driver Scott Martin to notch up their second ERC win for both themselves and the Peugeot 208 T16.
Not alone will it be Craig’s third time to compete on the rally it will be the team’s third winter rally already this year so confidence all round is high ahead of the event. Since the rally joined the series in 2013 the route has been condensed considerably yet has grown in popularity. Despite freezing temperatures fans in huge numbers will be sure to line the 205.68Km that make up the twelve competitive gravel stages this year. As customary on the ERC the Peugeot Rally academy crew will have the opportunity to choose their road order position first for leg one if they can guide their 208 T16 over a short 3km qualifying stage in the fastest time against their championship rivals on Friday. Last year Craig posted second fastest time and the chose to run fourteenth on the road as he felt this allowed him the best grip before the gravel surface beneath the snow began to deteriorate.
It’s a relatively relaxed start to Saturday with the first stage not due to go live until 11.30am. The cars will tackle another two stages in the Kuldïga region before returning for a mid-day service in Liepāja. For the second loop of stages the crews will only have to tackle two of the morning’s three stage before arriving back for the overnight halt and a well-deserved rest. It’s an earlier start on Sunday’s leg two and although the stage distance is shorter the Peugeot Rally academy crew will face seven tests broken by two trips to service before a new super special city stage in host city Liepāja draws the rally to a close and the finish ramp shortly after four o’clock. Before leaving for Latvia Craig said, “I’m really looking forward to the rally this year, with the confidence our second place in Monte Carlo has given me and our experience on the rally, we are determined to take a another win”