The Peugeot Rally Academy, which was set up this year to promote the careers of three talented young drivers, will have its complete line-up in the Azores for the first time this season. The cars of Craig Breen, Jérémi Ancian and Stéphane Lefebvre will be run by Saintéloc and the trio will be looking to continue their strong progress at the fourth round of the European Rally Championship (ERC), the first of the year on gravel.
A clair mission
Bruno Famin (Director, Peugeot Sport): “This is effectively the first time we will have our three young recruits competing on the same event. They have already produced some solid performances, and the Azores will provide them with another chance to show the same sort of form! Craig is second in the championship and, thanks to his consistency, should be able to challenge for the title despite the stiff competition he faces. Jérémi’s first outing in the Canary Islands revealed that he has the speed, but the aim for him will be to reach the finish in order to gain more experience. Last but not least, Stéphane is very quick on gravel and now knows the 208 R2 like the back of his hand, so he has a real chance of winning.” Bruno Famin will be in the Azores to watch over his fold…
Craig Breen, 2nd in the provisional ERC standings
The fourth round of the 2013 ERC will be the third appearance in the series of Irishman Craig Breen. Along with his co-driver Paul Nagle, the Peugeot Rally Academy driver is currently 18 points behind the championship’s provisional leader, Jan Kopecky, and has shown a competitive blend of consistency and speed since the beginning of his campaign. He feels comfortable on the loose with the 207 S2000 and stands to harvest further points on the Mid-Atlantic Island and even, why not, victory. True, the competitive edge of the RRC cars leaves little room for hope, but nobody is immune from making a mistake… The list of S2000 drivers features several other capable drivers in 207s, including Portugal’s Bruno Magalhaes and Frenchman Bryan Bouffier who both have good experience of the event! Another noteworthy 207 S2000 entry is that of Jean-Michel Raoux.
Jérémi Ancian and his co-driver Gilles De Turckheim will consequently have plenty of top names by which to judge their performance, although the objective of last year’s ‘Volant 207’ winner will above all be to finish the rally. His constant progress in the Canary Islands was halted by a puncture, and his first outing with the 207 S2000 on gravel will enable him to gain even more experience.
Stéphane Lefebvre targeting class success
With co-driver Thomas Dubois sitting alongside, the 2012 Volant 207’s ‘Junior’ winner Stéphane Lefebvre will be making his second ERC appearance in the Azores. After impressing in Latvia in the 208 R2 against rivals with far more experience of competing on snow, he will have his sights set on victory in the R2 class on the all-gravel Portuguese round. Indeed, he is particularly strong on the loose and now has a thorough understanding of his car. In addition to his European Championship programme as part of the Peugeot Rally Academy, he is also contesting this year’s French 208 Rally Cup in which he is targeting the top prize. His rivals in the Azores include fellow Frenchman Jean-Mathieu Leandri (208) and Portugal’s Diogo Gago (Citroën C2R2Max) who is another strong contender in the 2012 French 208 Rally Cup.
Source: Peugeot Sport