Breen fends off four-wheel-drive cars on his way to emotional victory for former co-driver
Westwales Rally Spares Jaffa Stages
On a day that should have favoured four-wheel-drive cars, new Citroen WRC driver Craig Breen took an emotional victory on the West Wales Rally Spares Jaffa Stages as he and girlfriend Vivienne Hennessy took their Ford Escort Mk2 to a 23-second win.
“This win means a lot to me,” he said, the event being run in tribute to his late co-driver Gareth ‘Jaffa’ Roberts. A good last stage featured Escort crew Kevin and Charles Tappin overtaking the Mitsubishi Lancer E9 crewed by Phil Turner/lowri Leeke for second place.
Thankfully the rain had stopped, though the stages at the Welsh Motorsport Centre were still very slippery, so surprisingly it was Breen who set the early pace, one second up on Tappin, with Turner a further nine seconds in arrears.
On stage two, it was Tappin who held the lead after setting fastest time ahead of Turner and Breen. Meanwhile, former winners Bryan Davies/alan Lewis retired their Ford Focus with gearbox maladies, and Jamie Jukes/ James Morgan got stuck on the Beach Road.
Stage three turned out to be the deciding stage, as Breen/ Hennessy were quickest by 30 seconds ahead of Turner/leeke, who suffered a day-long misfire, while Tappin blotted his copybook by losing time with an off.
From then on, Breen was never challenged as he went on to record a comfortable win. Despite his problems, Turner was only a second down on the leader on SS4, moving up to second, only for Tappin to overhaul the Mitsubishi crew for the runner-up spot by one second after setting fastest time on the final stage.
Emyr Morgan/paul Jones looked set for fourth place, only to hand the position to the Escort crew of Simon Kemp/simon Summers when their Subaru overheated, as a change of tyres enabled Tobias Adams/ian Meakin to move up to fifth in their Ford Sierra, ahead of Eirian and Catherine Beynon who did well to finish sixth after a year’s lay-off.
John and Gordon Leigh steered their Vauxhall Nova to 1600cc honours and finished in ninth place overall.
Organiser: Carmarthen Motor Club Ltd When: December 28, 2015 Where: Welsh Motorsport Centre, Pembrey Stages: 5 Starters: 70
Results 1 Craig Breen/ Vivienne Hennessy (Ford Escort Mk2) 54m27s; 2 Kevin Tappin/ Charles Tappin (Escort Mk2) +23s; 3 Phil Turner/ Lowri Leeke (Mitsubishi Lancer E9); 4 Simon Kemp/ Simon Summers (Escort Mk2); 5 Tobias Adam/ Ian Meakin (Ford Sierra RS); 6 Eirian Beynon/ Catherine Beynon (Escort Mk2); 7 Paul Butler/tom Wood (Subaru Impreza); 8 Darren James/ Dafydd Sion Lloyd (Lancer E6); 9 John Leigh/ Gordon Leigh (Vauxhall Nova); 10 Huw Jones/ Darren Williams (Peugeot 206 XSI).
Class winners 1: Keegan Rees/tamsin Boothby (Nissan Micra); 2: Leigh/ Leigh; 3: Llyr Jones/jason Davies (Escort Mk2); 4: Tappin/tappin; 5: Kemp/ Summers; 6: Turner/ Leeke; 7: Jones/ Williams.