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
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.