Breen’s Portuguese title bid hit by Algarve rally retirement

Portuguese championship leader Breen had a day-ending incident on Rallye Casinos do Algarve

Craig Breen

World Rally Championship star Craig Breen has crashed out early on Rallye Casinos do Algarve, the second round of the Portuguese Rally Championship.

The Hyundai driver is contesting the full Portuguese season in a i20 N Rally2 alongside his part-time WRC program in Hyundai’s Rally1 car.

Breen went to the Algarve as hot favorite to win among the 15-car RC2 entry list, having already won the season opening Rally Serra de Fafe which coincided with the European Rally Championship.

But the Škoda Fabia Rally2 evo-driving Miguel Correia beat Breen to victory by 2.5 seconds on the opening de Lago super special stage on Friday, and Breen’s plan strike back on SS2 the next morning collapsed in a scary day-ending accident.

“The engine stalled on braking and we were unable to restart the engine,” said Breen. “[That meant I was a] passenger, not the nicest of feelings. Minimal damage but day over.”

The majority of said damage appeared to be at the front of Breen’s car, and thankfully he and co-driver James Fulton – on just his fourth rally alongside Breen – were unharmed.

Breen’s Team Hyundai Portugal team-mate Ricardo Teodósio won SS2 to move into the rally lead, as Correia also struck trouble that lost him over 22 minutes. He was able to bounce back on SS3 to finish 8.1s behind stage winner Teodósio, but is down in 22nd place in the rally classification.

Joining Breen in retirement for the day on SS3 was 1995 Group N and ERC rally winner Rui Madeira.