FIA European Rally Championship title contender Craig Breen is predicting a thrilling battle for victory on next week's Rally Liepaja, the second event of the 2014 season.
Breen excelled when the winter rally joined the ERC roster for the first time last year and is one of the hot favourites to win this year's running of the ice and snow spectacular, which features a 56-car entry and 12 stages over a competitive distance of 240.56 kilometres.
“It's going to be a really good event,” said the Irishman. “There are Regional Rally Cars, R5 cars and Super 2000 cars and it's going to be a really close battle between all of them. The cars all have their advantages and disadvantages so it's going to be a really big fight.”
Breen, who will turn 24 on the final day of the event, will compete in a Peugeot Rally Academy 207 Super 2000. His rivals include Bryan Bouffier, Kajetan Kajetanowicz, Esapekka Lappi, Sepp Wiegand and Vasily Gryazin, who flies the Latvian flag on his Ford Fiesta S2000, even though he's actually Russian.
Gryazin was born in Russia and still lives there but learned to drive rally cars in Latvia and took part on his first competitive event in the Baltic state: “Everyone asks me this question if I am Russian or Latvian,” said the 20-year-old Sports Racing Technologies-run driver. “I am Russian and I live in Russia, but I have a Latvian competition licence. That's why I have the Latvian flag on my car,” he explained.
So what's his target for the event? “I will try to push! I will try to drive to the maximum of my capabilities and the limits of my car. A lot of fast drivers are going to be participating in this rally. I cannot pick one favourite in particular.
“I think it will be an interesting race.”