Irishman Craig Breen has had to withdraw from Rally Finland after injuring his back this morning in the first stage of the day.
Breen had been running ninth overall in his Ford Fiesta RS WRC car, but landed heavily in one of the jumps in the 6.79 km Ruuhimaki test, SS24. He completed it – and was eleventh quickest – but had to pull up at the finish as he was in severe pain.
“I tried to go flat over the famous jumps and now I'm flat on my back. I'm disappointed. I wanted to finish this rally and it's not going to happen,” Breen told the official WRC site, after receiving medical treatment.
Breen's co-driver Scott Martin added: “Craig has really hurt his back. I think we jumped too high and the landing was very hard. He can move everything OK but can't drive at the moment.”
“It is important that we are sensible [now] and don't cause any more problems [by trying to carry on],” Martin added. “The landing was just much heavier than we thought it would be. It could just be a compression of a muscle.
“We got quicker every stage, such an important thing [here]. It's been really fantastic and we have really enjoyed it. It's a shame this has happened but we put some real good times in. The main thing is that he's OK.”
Breen was competing in a WRC car on Rally Finland for the first time this weekend, having made his debut in a World Rally Car back in February on Rally Sweden. The Peugeot Rally Academy driver, who is also competing in the ERC this year, is due out next in the WRC in the Fiesta in Germany later this month.