Craig Breen says Ypres Rally win vital to revive 2014 ERC title bid
|By David Evans||Thursday, June 19th 2014, 13:44 GMT|
Acropolis Rally winner Craig Breen starts this week's Ypres Rally knowing that only victory will be good enough to get his European Rally Championship title bid back on track.
The Irishman has failed to finish the last two ERC rounds after his Peugeot 208 T16 suffered mechanical problems on the Circuit of Ireland and the Azores Rally.
Breen starts Ypres on Friday afternoon 29 points behind Skoda factory man Esapekka Lappi, but having started one round more than the Finn.
"I need to win really," said Breen, "that's all there is to it. It's kind of now or never after the last couple of results.
"What's good for me is that I have shown we have the speed and I feel comfortable with a pace which has been enough to lead rallies."
Breen has only contested Ypres once before, finishing third last year, but he is not concerned at his lack of experience compared with pre-event favourite Freddy Loix, a man who has won the rally eight times.
"Freddy was in a bit of world of his own last year," said Breen, "but we had problems early on in the event when we suffered a broken driveshaft.
"It's important that we're with him early in the event because Saturday's going to be a really long day. OK, it's not a particularly early start, but we leave service at 10 in the morning and we're still going 12 hours later."
Skoda Fabia driver Loix is not the only high-profile Belgian star in attendance in Ypres. Former World Rally Championship challenger Bruno Thiry will drive an Opel Adam R2 car.
The Ypres Rally starts from the town's Grote Markt at 1815 local time on Friday and finishes after 20 stages and 182 competitive miles just before midnight on Saturday.
ERC TWEAKS FORMAT FOR 2015
Next year's ERC will include no more than 10 rounds, with drivers counting eight scores.
With R5, RRC and S2000 forming the mainstay of the ERC action, sub-classes have been introduced for more conventional Group N machinery (ERC2) and two-wheel drive cars (ERC3).