BREEN PLAN­NING CIR­CUIT HAT-TRICK The Glens com­pared to Rally Fin­land’s Oun­in­po­hja stage

Citroen driver wants to make it three in a row with 2017 en­try

Motor Sport News - - Rally News - By Jack Benyon Pho­tos: FIA ERC, Jakob Ebrey

The 19-mile The Glens stage drew uni­ver­sal praise from com­peti­tors, even be­ing com­pared to the asphalt ver­sion of Oun­in­po­hja by British Rally Cham­pi­onship driver Fredrik Ah­lin.

The stage to­talled just over 19 miles as one of the stages that took the rally fur­ther north than the 2015 it­er­a­tion.

“Oun­in­po­hja is cool, but that was some­thing else,” ex­plained Swede Ah­lin. Reign­ing Euro­pean Rally Cham­pi­onship driver Ka­je­tan Ka­je­tanow­icz added: “Amaz­ing stage, the most dif­fi­cult in my life.”

Per­haps un­sur­pris­ingly the lead­ing ex­po­nent of the praise was rally win­ner Craig Breen, who loves the Cir­cuit of Ire­land more than most.

“You can­not put that into words, that is the best bit of Tar­mac in the world,” he said. “Just an in­cred­i­ble feel­ing. Now we’re on the roads we grew up on!”

It was un­der­stand­able that he en­joyed it so much, a quick look at the tim­ing board at the stage end brought on a chuckle.

He ousted the next quick­est run­ner on the stage by 24.1s, more than a sec­ond a mile, av­er­ag­ing around 70mph through the twisty lanes.

Event or­gan­iser Bobby Wil­lis be­lieves it was a risk to run the stage, but that in or­der to im­prove, the rally must find ways to throw up new chal­lenges.

“Putting a 20-mile stage in there was a risk, but it worked,” he said. “The com­peti­tors loved it, there’s the worry that a car run­ning early on can block the stages and the whole thing is lost. But you have to do things, you have to take risks. We’re al­ways tak­ing risks and the Cir­cuit is get­ting big­ger and bet­ter.”

but re­tire­ment was im­mi­nent.

“We had a slight is­sue on shake­down, which we though we might have sorted,” said Evans. “But as soon as we went off the line on SS1 I knew there was some­thing wrong. I knew we’d lose ev­ery chance of fight­ing with Rob [Dug­gan] and Mat­tias [Adiels­son] be­cause there was no ser­vice un­til af­ter stage five.”

Evans and co-driver Jonathan Jack­son’s fo­cus now switches to the next round of the cham­pi­onship in Carlisle on April 30/May 1.

“On the Pirelli, we have to score points re­ally as we’ve al­ready dropped two scores. I don’t feel there’s any pres­sure on us, we know what we’re ca­pa­ble of when things go our way,” added Evans.

Ir­ish­man will head to Poland for DS 3 WRC out­ing Cir­cuit of Ire­land pro­vided un­ri­valled asphalt tests

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