M-Sport WRC boss surprised by Breen Rally NZ error

M-Sport boss Richard Millener was surprised to see Craig Breen crash out of the Rally New Zealand lead battle, and is keen to understand the reason behind it.

M-Sport WRC boss surprised by Breen Rally NZ error

Breen made a strong start to the gravel rally sitting second after Thursday’s super special, before moving into the lead briefly when the rally headed onto New Zealand’s famous gravel roads.

The Irishman ended the morning loop sitting 2.6s behind Hyundai’s Ott Tanak in second, before his rally came to an abrupt halt on Stage 5 after setting a blistering pace on the early split times.

Heading into a right hander, that previously caught out Colin McRae in 2002, Breen slid wide, resulting in his Ford Pumas running off the road and down a steep bank. The error was Breen’s fourth in the last five rallies.

Spectators were able to pull the car back onto the road via a tow rope but 18 minutes had been lost in the process. Breen would later retire on the following road section due to a clutch problem.

Speaking after reaching the stop line at Stage 5, a gutted Breen said: “I know I shouldn't be doing all these mistakes, but it’s f****** tough.”

M-Sport boss Millener was shocked to see Breen fall off the road at a spot that is known by the drivers as a potential hazard.

“It was a real surprise to see Craig off the road as he looked relaxed and the times were really good,” said Millener.

“We were in with a real chance this weekend, but it just goes to show how quickly that can all disappear.

“Generally these guys are very aware of corners that catch people out. Even I watched that clip of Colin [McRae] running off there so it is obviously a corner that can catch people out.

“The guys know the pacenotes very well and they know the road conditions very well. I'm just very surprised to see Craig off the road. It is gutting for everybody involved.

“It is one thing doing it and getting the individual times but it is another thing finishing after three days. It is a mistake Craig will remember for a long time and I’m sure he will be very upset with himself.”

Craig Breen, Paul Nagle, M-Sport Ford World Rally Team Ford Puma Rally1

Craig Breen, Paul Nagle, M-Sport Ford World Rally Team Ford Puma Rally1

Photo by: McKlein / Motorsport Images

With this the latest of a series of mistakes from the team's lead driver, Millener plans to sit down with Breen to understand why the errors are occurring.

Read Also:

“The reason he is in the car is because he has shown the ability to do it,” Millener added.

“We support our drivers through the good times and the hard times, but ultimately we try to give them the car and the resources to do it, but we can’t help them with the driving.

“Unfortunately this one looks like a simple mistake of being too fast into that corner which is difficult to accept for us all, including Craig.

“We have just got to have a sit down and understand why this is happening, but ultimately this is something Craig is going to have to focus on himself.”

Breen is expected to rejoin Rally New Zealand on Saturday under restart rules.

shares
comments
Supercars champion van Gisbergen “living my dream” on WRC debut
Previous article

Supercars champion van Gisbergen “living my dream” on WRC debut

Next article

Tanak loses lead of Rally New Zealand with WRC hybrid boost penalty

Tanak loses lead of Rally New Zealand with WRC hybrid boost penalty
The key steps on Rovanpera's romp to a history-making WRC title Plus

The key steps on Rovanpera's romp to a history-making WRC title

With only cameo roles played by legendary Sebastiens Ogier and Loeb, Kalle Rovanpera ushered in the new hybrid era for the World Rally Championship by becoming its youngest champion. Here's how Toyota's Flying Finn crushed the competition, led by Hyundai's departing star Ott Tanak

WRC
5 h
How trailblazer Kalle Rovanpera has ripped up the WRC record book Plus

How trailblazer Kalle Rovanpera has ripped up the WRC record book

At the tender age of 22, Kalle Rovanpera is redefining what’s possible to achieve in rallying and inspiring a new legion of fans as a result. The newly-crowned World Rally Championship title-winner and his peers reflect on his ability and the start of his success in the top tier

WRC
Nov 26, 2022
How Hyundai and Neuville gatecrashed Toyota's homecoming party Plus

How Hyundai and Neuville gatecrashed Toyota's homecoming party

Thierry Neuville signed off the 2022 World Rally Championship season with his second win of the season in Japan after Toyota rival Elfyn Evans suffered a late puncture. With Sebastien Ogier and Kalle Rovanpera also delayed by punctures and incidents, it opened the door for Neuville and Ott Tanak to record Hyundai's second 1-2 of the season in Toyota's own backyard

WRC
Nov 14, 2022
The message a WRC stalwart sent which its new king couldn’t answer Plus

The message a WRC stalwart sent which its new king couldn’t answer

Sebastien Ogier might be the outgoing World Rally champion, but it didn’t stop him reminding everyone of the skills that made him an eight-time world champion. As victory at Rally Spain led Toyota’s charge to a titles clean sweep, it did pose a question to newly-crowned champion Kalle Rovanpera which he could not answer

WRC
Oct 24, 2022
Autosport gets to grips as a WRC co-driver Plus

Autosport gets to grips as a WRC co-driver

The majority of headlines may focus on the exploits of drivers in the World Rally Championship, but the challenges facing their co-drivers are no less demanding. Autosport got in the passenger seat with Toyota Gazoo Racing to find out just what it takes to succeed

WRC
Oct 6, 2022
How Rally New Zealand encapsulated record-breaking Rovanpera’s WRC title charge Plus

How Rally New Zealand encapsulated record-breaking Rovanpera’s WRC title charge

Kalle Rovanpera’s coronation as the new World Rally Championship king had been a long time coming, only to be postponed by hiccups in Belgium and Greece. But at Rally New Zealand the “Full Send” Finn demonstrated exactly how he's been able to rewrite the rallying record book as he stormed to victory to become the youngest ever world champion

WRC
Oct 3, 2022
How a Toyota lifeline reignited Lappi's WRC career Plus

How a Toyota lifeline reignited Lappi's WRC career

Motorsport can be brutal at times. One moment a driver can be the next big thing, but it can spiral in the other direction so quickly. Thankfully, sometimes drivers receive second chances. And Esapekka Lappi has taken his World Rally Championship lifeline in both hands

WRC
Sep 28, 2022
How team orders could make Hyundai's historic Acropolis Rally a Greek tragedy Plus

How team orders could make Hyundai's historic Acropolis Rally a Greek tragedy

Thierry Neuville led a maiden Hyundai 1-2-3 in the World Rally Championship, as the previously soft i20 N became a battle-hardened Greek warrior at the Acropolis Rally. But with team orders in play between the winner and Hyundai’s title protagonist Ott Tanak, could the result come back to haunt the team?

WRC
Sep 12, 2022