|Craig competes in the Azores in 2013|
Based on the largest island of São Miguel from this coming Thursday to Saturday, May 15 – 17, the rally will feature seventeen tough stages that will cover nearly 220Kms of sandy gravel roads that wind their way through the island’s world famous volcanic scenery.
Craig and his co-driver Scott Martin will start the rally as the number one seeds in their Peugeot 208 T16 and as the rally is a month later this year, Craig says he’s really looking forward to it because the date change means that the rally shouldn’t be affected by the torrential rain like last year which saw stage cancellations and very difficult driving conditions.
Fifty-six crews will contest this year’s ERC Sata Rallye Azores which is celebrating its 49th running and it will kick off with an exciting but non-competitive short asphalt course along Ponta Delgada’s seafront and surrounding streets on Wednesday evening to showcase what the fans can expect over the following three days.
On Thursday (15th) the rally takes up the usual ERC format with free practice before a 3.22km qualifying stage in the morning where the fastest driver in qualifying will earn the right to be first to select their starting position for the opening three stages of Leg 1 later on that evening. The Leg restarts on Friday morning and will see the crews tackle eight challenging stages that will test their strength and that of their cars as they will have rallied almost 44km through the difficult terrain before returning to the mid-day service in Ponta Delgada at 3pm before they repeat the loop of four stages again.
Leg 2 on Saturday (17th) although only having six stages with a mid-day service will be every bit as challenging as the previous day as it will feature four stages in excess of the 20km each that will allow little margin for error due to their tight and twisty nature before the crews return to Ponta Delgada’s seafront where the winners will take to the podium for the victory celebrations.
Craig will have plenty of competition for the rally win as the large entry list consists of a number of ERC regulars including Craig’s Dutch Peugeot Rally Academy team-mate Kevin Abbring, Vasily Gryazin, Kajetan Kajetanowicz and Bruno Magalhães. Bernardo Sousa and local hero Ricardo Moura will join Magalhães amongst the home entries and for sure they will be on a charge to defend home honours.
You can keep up to date during the event by visiting www.craigbreen.com or www.peugeot-sport.com