With the countdown to the Circuit of Ireland International Rally gathering pace the organising team are pleased to confirm that two of Europe’s brightest young stars, Craig Breen of Ireland and Dutch driver Kevin Abbring, will be in a rapidly growing entry list.
With just three weeks to go until the European Rally Championship comes to Belfast for the first time, the names of former World Super 2000 champion Breen, from Waterford, and ex-FIA Institute Excellence Academy member and Junior WRC event winner Abbring, were announced as definite starters at a launch event held on Thursday at the Titanic Drawing Offices in Belfast.
SKODA Motorsport is also finalising plans to enter two factory-prepared Fabia Super 2000s, which will mean two more very exciting young talents from Europe coming to the Circuit of Ireland next month.
Both Breen and Abbring, who drive for the French Peugeot Rally Academy team, are currently in Greece preparing for the start of the Acropolis Rally on Saturday evening.
The Greek round will see Abbring and Breen debut Peugeot’s new R5 category car, the 208T16, which has been extensively developed by Breen and Irish World championship star Kris Meeke over the past 12 months.
“It’s been very exciting being involved in the development of the new car and I know that fans from all corners of the country are eagerly anticipating seeing it,” said Breen. “There is always a buzz around the Circuit of Ireland but it feels particularly special because it is the only round of the FIA European Rally Championship in the UK and Ireland.
“My co-driver Scott Martin and I are entered in the second round of the Dunlop Irish National Championship next week and we intend to use that event as an extensive tarmac test session before taking on our European rivals at Easter.”
SKODA’s planned participation on the Circuit of Ireland Rally is also significant for the event. The Fabia S2000 has been a dominant force in international rallying for several seasons with Juho Hanninen leading home a famous one-two-three for SKODA when the Circuit of Ireland last took place in 2012. The United Kingdom is also a very important market for SKODA, meaning a visit to Belfast would be very attractive to the Czech company.