A feeling of could have been at the Jim Clark International Rally, round three of the Dulux Trade MSA British Rally Championship as Craig and Gareth were within reach of their first BRC win and putting their championship right back on track but this was not to be. After setting six fastest stage times out of nine, Craig’s Fiesta S2000 engine cried enough on stage ten ending a fantastic display of tarmac rallying. The retirement spells disaster for the Waterford driver’s championship aspirations as this is his second non finish out of three rounds. There was some consolation however as Craig was awarded the Pirelli Star driver for an incredible drive to that point. His performance over day one and his level of commitment on stages seven, eight and nine highlighted the talent before his premature retirement.
Craig had put a huge amount of preparation into the event and the test session held just over a week ago paid dividends as he set four fastest stage time on Friday evening. He did state that Friday’s tests would suit his car “My aim is to push as hard as we can on Friday, as I feel this is where the time can be made with my car”. This push started with the Dunn’s town opener and as Friday evening’s action came to a close Craig held a twelve second lead.
He did say before the start that he could struggle with top speed on Saturday but this was not obvious when the rally restarted with Wedderburn 1 on Saturday morning and the Kick Energy Fiesta screamed to the top of the time sheets. Stage eight, Edrom 1 went the same way and as Craig entered first service he had extended his lead from 12.9 to 26.8 seconds. Gwyndaf Evens set the pace on SS nine but again Breen was right there just .4 of a sec way from top spot. The stage did see Keith Cronin suffer a puncture which left Craig 52.9 seconds ahead of Alastair Fisher who was elevated to second position by virtue of Cronin’s flat tyre. The Irish/Welsh crew looked to be in prime position heading into stage ten but as Craig said afterwards “without warning the engine let go a third of the way through the stage. At this point I’m just so gutted”.