A Highly Instructive Weekend
Craig Breen and Scott Martin posted three of the fastest stage times on their way to third place in Estonia. The objective of competing at this non-world championship event was to prepare for the notoriously fast-paced Rally Finland which takes place later this month (July 26-29).
This weekend's competitive action proved to be a big confidence booster for Craig Breen as he explored the limits on Rally Estonia's ultra-fast stages before he heads for similar terrain in Finland at the end of July.
The outing saw the Irishman go head to head with drivers representing two other teams involved in the WRC, finishing with the three fastest times behind local star Ott Tänak.
Craig’s performance suggests that the modifications to improve the handling of his C3 WRC, introduced during the event, paid dividends. Craig completed the opening test in second place and claimed his first fastest time on SS5. He was quickest again on SS8 before completing Leg 1 in a strong second place.
Unfortunately, a time penalty for late arrival at a time control on Sunday caused Craig to drop a place, but he responded with his best effort on the first attempt at Prangli, the rally's longest stage (17.05km).
In addition to the valuable data it collected, Citroën Total Abu Dhabi WRT evaluated a variety of set-up options over the weekend, taking advantage of the full-scale dress rehearsal for Rally Finland to prepare calmly for the upcoming WRC clash.
WHAT THEY SAID
Pierre Budar, Citroën Racing Team Principal: "Finland is a unique event which calls for a different set-up to the championship’s other gravel rounds. The point of contesting Rally Estonia, which visits similar terrain, was to take advantage of the weekend's different stage profiles to work through a variety of options ahead of a bespoke Rally Finland test next week. Craig was generally within a tenth of a second per kilometre off Tänak’s times, who benefitted from better local knowledge and who will undoubtedly be one of our biggest threats in Finland. So I think we can say it was a successful exercise for us."
Craig Breen: "It was a good weekend and we have come away feeling very confident, with some useful data in the bank. We started well with a good set-up for Friday's shakedown and we gradually worked on that basic configuration to pick up pace as the rally progressed. I am very pleased with the work we achieved and I can’t wait to start fine-tuning the result when we begin our pre-Finland testing."