Breen expected to restart New Zealand on Saturday

M-Sport has confirmed Breen's retirement was due to clutch damage


Craig Breen is expected to return to Rally New Zealand action on Saturday despite putting his Ford Puma Rally 1 off the road on the opening day.

Breen slid off the road on the second pass of the Whaanga Coast test. He made it back to the road and completed the stage, but dropped 18 minutes. Breen retired on the following road section with a failed clutch.

M-Sport Ford team principal Richard Millener told DirtFish: “Obviously we haven’t seen the car yet, we’re still waiting for it to arrive back into Auckland, but we understand the damage is limited to the clutch.

“I don’t see any reason why we wouldn’t put a clutch in it and send him back out tomorrow.

“It goes without saying, this is a huge disappointment for the whole team. After such a good start to the event this morning, when we were running one-two for the second event in succession, we really thought we could make this one stick.”

With only two cars registered for points – Gus Greensmith sits in fifth place after SS6 – M-Sport will be keen to maintain a remarkable point-scoring run which stretches back to the 2002 Monte Carlo Rally.

“Scoring points on every single round of the World Rally Championship for more than two decades is something we’re proud of. It’s a huge achievement and something we want to continue.”