Q&A with Craig Breen

Craig Breen won round two of the 2015 FIA European Rally Championship by 1m 40.7s in his Peugeot Rally Academy 208 T16. We caught up with the 25-year old Irishman at the finish of Rally Liepāja in Latvia.

You’ve been on the podium twice in Latvia but finally you’re on the top step. How happy are you?

“Very happy – I’m always happy, but today I’m very happy! It was a really good weekend for us. The conditions were very difficult. Yesterday we had a lot of rain and all the snow that had been collected in the stages over the last weeks melted within a couple of hours, so it was really tricky. Today we had the opposite, a lot of snow that came during the night and again in the day, which was blown by the wind and made visibility very difficult. It was quite a unique rally.”

Two of your big rivals, Kajetan Kajetanowicz and Alexey Lukyanuk, both hit trouble – did that make it harder or easier and were you confident that you had the pace to beat them had they not stopped?

“I was 100% that we had the pace. The biggest margin that we lost a stage by, when all three of us were still fighting, was 0.7 seconds, but we weren’t doing anything stupid. There was a strong pace on the first stage, but when I saw the stage time of Alexey I knew that it was possible to beat him. I was confident starting the second stage, and when I got the message that he had stopped, we just did enough to keep ahead of Kajto. We beat him on all the stages for the rest of the day until he stopped too.”

What impresses you most about Rally Liepāja?

“Rally Liepāja is one of the standout events of the year in terms of organisation and I know that Raimonds Strokšs and his team put in a really fantastic effort every year. Their attention to detail is incredible and if they thought they could control the weather, I’m sure they’d have had a go at that as well. Hopefully next year we can find the sweet spot and hold the rally on a weekend when all the conditions are okay, because it would be the icing on the cake. But still, it’s a fantastic event.”