A surefooted performance in Switzerland saw Craig Breen and Scott Martin collect their fourth European Rally Championship victory of the season. The Peugeot Rally Academy pair finally tallied more wins this year than the 2015 FIA ERC champion Kajetan Kajetanowicz. Breen’s winning record includes success on three different types of surface which showcases not only the Irishman’s all-round skills but also the speed and reliability of his 208 T16. This week-end, the 208T16 picked up a number of other top results. Yoann Bonato earned the car’s first French title, and the first for an R5 car. Christian Jensen took the top prize in Denmark.
The 2015 Rallye International du Valais was sunny from start to finish but the stages were still damp and treacherously slippery. Despite a cautious start, Craig Breen emerged in front early on, while Bryan Bouffier – who was also driving a 208 T16 – was eliminated by a mistake on the opening stage. Freed from the threat of the Frenchman, Craig and Scott produced a superb run to pull gradually clear of Swiss expert Olivier Burri who was driving a DS 3 RRC, a more powerful car than the Irishman’s 208 T16. Craig Breen was relieved to be able to compete without any extra pressure on his shoulders and his domination continued with a sequence of fastest times on the second day, extending his cushion over Burri to almost a minute. The Peugeot Rally Academy driver was then able to control from in front on the last day to put his 208T16 on the top step of the podium. He was particularly pleased with his performance after the finish:
I am very moved by today’s win. The team has always backed me and I would like to thank them for that. The last two years have been fantastic. This season, we could have obtained more top results and we were fast on all the different types of surface visited by the championship.
The 2015 Junior ERC champion Emil Bergkvist also took part in the Swiss round as a prize for winning the title. The Swedish youngster made solid progress throughout and ended up celebrating his first ever outing in a four-wheel drive car with fourth place. The next outing for the Peugeot Rally Academy will be the Rallye du Var, penultimate round of the 2015 French Rally Championship. It will be the last event of Charles Martin’s official programme in the 208 T16 and will give this year’s 208 Rally Cup competitors a chance to compete directly with the competition’s 2014 winner.
Final positions: 1, Craig Breen et Scott Martin (Peugeot 208T16), 2h32m13.6s. 2, A.Lukyanuk (Ford Fiesta R5), +39.4s. 3, O.Burri (Citroën DS3 RRC), +2m19.6s. 4, E.Bergkvist (Peugeot 208 T16), +3m14.1s. 5, F.Gonon (Peugeot 207 S2000), +3m26.7s. Etc.