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The Independent Automotive Aftermarket Federation

NGK-sponsored Breen in third place in WRC standings

Date: Thursday 28 April 2022

The NGK-sponsored M-Sport Ford World Rally Team narrowly missed out on its third podium result of the season with Irishman Craig Breen taking fourth place in the 2022 Croatia Rally.

M-Sport Ford’s fleet of four Puma Rally1s fought against unprecedented conditions in Zagreb at the weekend, all crews showing the true pace of the all-new car on asphalt over the course of the event.

After heavy rain and low temperatures created some exceptional road conditions, any crew that finished the event did exceptionally well and M-Sport were rewarded with three out of four cars crossing the finish line on Sunday afternoon with the highlight being Breen’s strong result to elevate him to third in the drivers’ championship.

Breen and Paul Nagle showed a consistently strong performance from start to finish, setting the third fastest time in SS1 on Friday morning and going on to set a further 10 top five fastest times throughout the rest of the weekend. Friday saw the Irishman end the day in fourth position, but a late-night penalty for Thierry Neuville saw Breen elevated into third by a margin of 28.8 seconds. Saturday saw him hold onto third place and he headed into the final day with a podium in sight, but the gap to fourth place had been cut down to 4.9 seconds.

Sunday started positively, but unexpected heavy rain on the penultimate stage saw the crew’s tyre choice become a big disadvantage to the competition and Breen narrowly failed to make the podium.

Craig Breen said:

“Obviously the weather made it an incredibly difficult weekend, but we made it through. For sure Paul and I learnt a lot, plus we managed to get some points in the power stage, and points for coming fourth. Unfortunately, a little mistake on the tyre choice on Sunday morning maybe ruled us out of a podium place, but apart from that we have to be satisfied.”

Ignition and sensor specialist NGK is a long-time partner of the M-Sport Ford World Rally Team. Mark Hallam, Marketing Manager, NGK Spark Plugs (UK) Ltd, said:

“Craig produced a fantastic performance at the weekend and is now in a strong position in the drivers’ standings as the championship moves on to Portugal for the next rally on May 19.”

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