Remembering when… Emotional Breen mastered Acropolis for first ERC win
Craig Breen become the third different winner in as many rounds of the 2014 FIA European Rally Championship with an emotional Acropolis Rally win, his maiden triumph in the all-action series.
The Irishman’s success on the legendary Greek event, which finished in Loutraki on 30 March, marked a debut ERC win for PEUGEOT’s all-new 208 T16 and follows Kajetan Kajetanowicz’s triumph in Poland last year when he scored the first victory by an R5 car in the flagship regional championship.
Behind Breen and British co-driver Scott Martin, who moved to the top of the ERC standings following their first-place finish in Greece, Bryan Bouffier and Xavier Panseri (Citroën DS3 RRC) finished second with Kajetanowicz and Jarek Baran completing the podium in their M-Sport Ford Fiesta.
Elsewhere, young Russian driver Evgeny Sukhovenko won the ERC 2WD category, while Vitaliy Pushkar secured first place in the ERC Production Car Cup when long-time leader Tibor Érdi retired on the road section heading to the finish. Ekaterina Stratieva took maximum ERC Ladies’ Trophy points for the first time this season.
Breen, whose performance earned him the prestigious Colin McRae ERC Flat Out Trophy, celebrated his victory by paying tribute to Gareth Roberts, his best friend and former co-driver who lost his life in a rally crash in 2012. He also remembered his idol, the late Frank Meagher, who was the last Irishman to win a round of the European championship.
“It’s been the perfect weekend,” said Breen. “We showed a lot of speed on the Tarmac yesterday and everything worked just as well on gravel today so hats off to the team and Peugeot Sport for all their hard work. Frank Meagher was my absolute idol. But I remember Gareth and me asking ourselves the day before the accident how long it would take until we could be winning one of these events. A couple of years later and it’s an amazing feeling and thanks to Scott, he’s done a fantastic job.”
The 2018 EKO Acropolis Rally, the third event of the season, takes place in Lamia from 1-3 June.