If any Irish rally enthusiast walked down the promenade in Salou during WRC Rallye de España they could have easily thought they were at a rally in Ireland with so many familiar faces there for the weekend. Even internationally the excitement surrounding Craig Breen’s two year contract with Citroen has created quite a buzz, and if the large amount of tri-colour flags on the stages in the Costa Daurada holiday resort were are anything to go by then the Wales Rally GB (October 27th-30th) atmosphere will amazing.
Considered to be a home away from home event for Craig this is where the Abu Dhabi Total World Rally Team driver will take his place in the team for the sixth and final time this year.
As has been the case in recent years, the service park will be based in Deeside. Following the Clocaenog shakedown and the ceremonial start, held on Thursday evening at the Eirias Park in Colwyn Bay, the competitors will have their hands full on the opening two days, both contested without a mid-leg service. Part of the event for many years, the Myherin, Sweet Lamb, Hafren and Dyfi stages will be run in the oppose direction to usual. Others, such as Dyfnant, Gartheiniog or Alwen, will be identical to 2015. The organisers have also come up with a few surprises, starting with the Pantperthog stage, which has not been part of the event for more than twenty years! The rally is scheduled to finish on Sunday in Llandudno, after a short final leg.
Speaking ahead of the short trip over to Wales Craig shared his thoughts saying, “I’m looking forward to racing on these stages again, which I have driven on many times in the British Rally Championship and during my five appearances at Wales Rally GB. I have a lot of good memories, the highlight probably being when I won the Junior WRC title in 2011 alongside Gareth Roberts, who was Welsh. In fact, the start line for Myherin – the opening stage this year – is exactly at the point where we won the title! Although this year’s rally is being held a few weeks earlier than usual, I’m not expecting the conditions to be especially different: rain, mud, fog, etc. Maybe we’ll see a few rays of sunshine, but it would be weird! The race conditions will have a huge influence on our ability to secure a good result. If our tenth place on the road became an advantage, I think I could fight for a podium spot, like in Finland. We’ll start the rally with a positive mindset and we’ll see what we can do.”