The incredibly close battle between Craig Breen (Peugeot Rally Academy 208 T16) and Kajetan Kajetanowicz (LOTOS Rally Team Fiesta R5) continued on day two of the SATA Rallye AÃ§ores â€“ with Breen regaining the lead on the dayâ€™s final stage to lead overnight by just 2.3 seconds.
Breen lost the lead when he spun on the first run over the signature Sete Cidades volcano stage, but a great drive saw him chip away at Kajetanowiczâ€™s advantage until the Irishman regained first place on the second run through Sete Cidades. â€œIâ€™m not taking any silly risks and keeping the car in the middle of the road,â€ said Breen. â€œItâ€™s so easy to get a puncture or to go off line and knock a tyre off a rim.â€
With very little experience of the challenging SÃ£o Miguel island gravel roads, Kajetanowicz has driven brilliantly â€“ including setting fastest time on the first run over Sete Cidades, during which the Polish driver admitted, â€œmy heart rate must have been close to maximum!â€ He is now 1m18.6s ahead of third-placed Ricardo Moura (Fiesta R5) â€“ the seven-time Azorean rally champion running out of brakes on Sete Cidades, yet still maintaining a strong podium position.
Two-time event winner Bruno MagalhÃ£es changed the turbo for today in his Peugeot 208 T16, but went out on soft Pirellis in the morning, when he felt harder ones would have worked better. He also overshot a junction on Sete Cidades and had to reverse, but wasnâ€™t too unhappy to finish the day in fourth â€“ 1m21.1s ahead of fellow Portuguese driver JosÃ© Pedro Fontes, who lost his CitroÃ«n DS3 R5â€™s rear bumper after a close encounter with a bank on the dayâ€™s final stage.
Robert Consaniâ€™s first gravel rally in his stunning CitroÃ«n DS3 R5 continues to go well â€“ the Frenchman lying sixth, despite being delayed after Giacomo Costenaro (Peugeot 207 S2000) crashed and blocked SS9. Sam Moffett (Fiesta RRC) was also held up in the same incident, and is seventh tonight. Samâ€™s brother Josh Moffett was fourth until he crashed his Fiesta RRC at high speed after the flying finish of SS4, while Jean-Michel Raoux, who finished third on SATA Rallye AÃ§ores last year, crashed his Ford Fiesta R5 near the start of SS7. JoÃ£o Barros crashed his Fiesta R5 and temporarily blocked SS11, while the same stage saw the retirement of AntonÃn TlusÅ¥Ã¡k (Å KODA Fabia S2000).
Jaroslav OrsÃ¡k (Å KODA Fabia S2000) was delighted to reach the finish of Sete Cidades for the first time in three Rallye AÃ§ores starts. He hit a wall and broke a rear wheel near the start of SS9, but completes the top 10 tonight, behind the two leading ERC2 drivers.