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FST International Shootout - 7-8 Dec 09

Posted: December 11, 2009 1:41 PM - 6479 Hits

Winning week for Breen concludes with WRC test

Posted: December 11, 2009 1:41 PM

Craig Breen celebrated his victory in the Fiesta SportTrophy International Shootout in style today as he took the wheel of a Ford Focus RS WRC to receive tuition from BP Ford Abu Dhabi’s Flying Finn Mikko Hirvonen. WRC runner-up Hirvonen, fresh from a double win at the Bettega Memorial Rally in Bologna, Italy where he powered his Ford Focus RS World Rally Car to victory in front of a crowd of 30,000 fans, found himself in the co-driver’s seat as he offered advice to Breen who drove the Focus around a specially constructed rally stage at Carlisle Airport.

The young Irishman, who won the opportunity to spend the afternoon with Hirvonen thanks to his win in this season’s Fiesta SportTrophy International (FSTi), made the most of his chance, completing over 100 km of running in the car which was used by Stobart VK M-Sport Ford driver Matthew Wilson at this year’s Rally GB.

The day finished with Hirvonen taking the wheel of the car to give Breen a final spin around the course offering an insight into the level of driving that Breen is hoping to emulate.

Earlier in the day, four of Breen’s fellow FSTi competitors, who had earned the chance to sample the Focus RS WRC after contesting more than four rounds of this year’s championship, got behind the wheel of the car with British star Wilson offering guidance.

FSTi runner-up Patrick Anglade (21) from Germany, who won three rounds of this year’s championship was one of the drivers taking advantage of the opportunity with Team Abu Dhabi drivers Bader Al Jabri (24), Majed Al Shamsi (29) and Ahmed Al Mansoori (23).

All four drivers took their first drive in a Focus RS WRC with Wilson beside them, before having their own co-driver join them for the rest of the session.

Fiesta SportTrophy International champion Craig Breen said:
“It has been a brilliant day. I have really enjoyed it and I have learned a lot about the car. It’s the first time that I’ve driven a non-active car so it has been a new experience for me and I hope I’ve made the most of it. You don’t get the chance to sit in the car with a WRC star very often and he gave me some great tips on position and being smooth. I hope I’ve got as much out of it as I possibly can. It was really interesting to be in the car with Mikko and to see how he does it. It gave me a great idea of what I need to be aiming for.”

BP Ford Abu Dhabi World Rally Team driver Mikko Hirvonen said:
“I really enjoyed it. Craig is a very good driver and I really didn’t need to do much in the car. I wasn’t aware of how much he had achieved over the season in addition to the WRC events until today and I have been very impressed with his ability in the car and how quickly he adapted to the challenge. He will learn a lot from his year at M-Sport.”

Patrick Anglade said:
“It was really amazing. There’s a big difference between driving the WRC car and the other cars that I have driven in the past. The power is unbelievable and the grip is really good. It has been a very good experience for me. I don’t think I will ever forget this day.”

Majed Al Shamsi said:
“I had such a great time. It is really like being on a rollercoaster ride. It was an amazing experience.”

Bader Al Jabri said:
“It was unbelievable to drive. I feel like driving the Fiesta is more physical, but driving the WRC car requires so much concentration it is amazing. I got a lot of good advice from Matthew. It was a great opportunity to be out there with someone with so much experience.”

Ahmed Al Mansoori said:
“It was a really fantastic experience for me. I have been looking forward to driving the WRC car all week and it lived up to all that I had hoped. I loved every minute of it and it really gives you an incentive to progress because I would like to drive one of those cars again in the future.”

Breen crowns glorious season with FST International Shootout victory

Posted: December 9, 2009 12:00 PM


Craig Breen with Malcolm Wilson


Fiesta SportTrophy International champion Craig Breen (19) completed a near-perfect season as he took victory in the FST International Shootout, beating off strong competition to take the prestigious title and taking his tally of victories for the season to six after becoming FSTi champion, Kick Energy FST UK champion, FST Ireland champion, Irish Junior Rally champion as well as winning the Billy Coleman Award in his home country.

The prize on offer to the winner of the Shootout is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to gain hands-on experience at a top level World Rally team. A 12-month employment contract with M-Sport, an apartment at the Dovenby Hall HQ and the provision of a road car are all part of Breen’s reward. He will have the chance to experience working in a number of different areas of the company, travelling to the European WRC events with the BP Ford Abu Dhabi World Rally Team, attending press functions and driving at PR events.

While Breen had been one of the favourites to take the coveted title he faced stiff opposition over the two-day competition.

The 16 competitors who had qualified for the Shootout based on their performances in FST championships around the globe, faced a series of physical and psychological tests as well as an assessment of their media skills before embarking on the final driving challenge, a three kilometre stage in the GpN Fiesta ST at M-Sport's Greystoke Forest. With all of their scores tallied, the competitors were whittled down to the final five candidates who were interviewed by M-Sport Managing Director Malcolm Wilson OBE.

Breen, who posted the best time in the driving challenge, was joined in the final five by four outstanding competitors who all merited a chance to face the final interview after a series of strong performances over the two days: FSTi wildcard entry Patrick Anglade, Northern Ireland’s Mark Donnelly, Swede Mattias Wennman and Cedric de Cecco from Belgium.

Anglade (21), the FSTi runner up, who led the championship until the final round in Wales, produced strong and consistent performances throughout the two-day challenge earning a good result in the media skills test and matching his rival Breen in the fitness test.

Donnelly (18) excelled on the fitness test on day one posting the leading score and followed up that performance with consistently strong results over all of the next disciplines, including the stages in Greystoke where he trailed Breen's time by three tenths.

Wennman (25) had been occupying a mid-table spot after the first day’s tests, but some strong times in the driving test elevated him to the top five as he excelled in the testing conditions that saw some other competitors crash out.

Equally, de Cecco (24), who had to contend with a delay to his driving tests after a technical issue on his Fiesta ST, proved his driving talent to move up from his position near the middle of the table after the first day.

Also worthy of mention was New Zealand’s Ben Jagger (19), who finished day one’s events as the overall leader, performing exceptionally in the media, psychological and physical assessments. However, the New Zealander fell victim to the forest on his first run of the driving test, as he went off the road and hit a tree, ending his Shootout campaign.

However, Breen’s undoubted ability behind the wheel shone through as he posted the fastest times in the forest with co-driver Gareth Roberts.

The young Irishman will get a taste of things to come almost immediately as he gets the chance to take the wheel of a Ford Focus RS WRC tomorrow and receive tuition from BP Ford Abu Dhabi ace Mikko Hirvonen before joining the Flying Finn for dinner to discuss the season so far.

Fiesta SportTrophy International champion Craig Breen said:
“Winning this title really has left me lost for words. I have had a fantastic debut season and to win the championship in that same year was incredible, but this is something else altogether. I had set myself the target of winning this at the start of the year and I am so pleased that I have managed to achieve that. It is a fantastic opportunity that I have been given to work with M-Sport and I can’t wait to start. This contest was really great and I was pushed all the way, but I am absolutely over the moon to have won.”

M-Sport Managing Director, Malcolm Wilson OBE said:
“It hasn’t been easy to pick a winner and there have been a few pleasant surprise performances. There can only be one winner, however, and Craig [Breen] has shone above the rest during this competition. It is the first time that this title hasn’t been won by a wildcard in four years. Craig has had a fantastic year to win the FSTi, FST UK and FST Ireland and he is a deserved winner.”

Results

Posted: December 9, 2009 11:58 AM

IE and UK FST International Shootout Nominations Announced

Posted: December 1, 2009 5:11 PM

Three competitors from the Kick Energy FST UK and FST IE championships have been awarded ‘wildcard’ nominations for the upcoming FST International Shootout, which takes place on 7/8th December. 2009

The UK wildcard entry has gone to Matt Edwards (24) from Cockermouth, Cumbria. Edwards made his debut in the FST series this year, and finished a credible second overall in the series. Edwards scored one overall victory in the year on the second round of the series, the Bulldog Rally. The talented youngster has proven his speed throughout the season whilst running on a shoestring budget. Edwards has also gained excellent media coverage throughout the year and this, coupled with his results, has gained him the UK wildcard nomination.

In Ireland the wildcard nomination goes to Robbie Barrable (21) from Dublin. Barrable was not only a newcomer to the FST at the start of 2009, but also a newcomer to rallying, moving over from a successful single-seater racing background. Barrable only joined the series at Round 2, the Circuit of Ireland Rally and despite a DNF he scored on all four remaining rounds progressing as the season continued - a third overall on Rounds 3 and 4 followed by a second overall on Round 5, The Ulster International, plus a win on the final round of the series, the Cork ‘20’ Rally. His consistently impressive performances rewarded him with third overall in the championship and the FST Ireland wildcard.

The victor of both the UK and IE series was that of 19-year-old Craig Breen, from Waterford. Breen has had an outstanding year winning in total four titles throughout the season, the two aforementioned along with FST International (FSTi) and Ireland’s National Junior Rally Championship. He was also named as the recipient of the prestigious Billy Coleman Award for the best young rally driver of the year in his native Ireland as well as being the most successful FST driver to date.

Due to Breen winning both titles he has created an available place for another wildcard at the Shootout in December. With this particular individual scoring so highly in both series, the decision was made that he needed to be included in the Shootout; therefore Mark Donnelly (17) makes up the final wildcard slot. Donnelly finished a credible fourth in the UK series and a superb second overall in the Irish series. He scored three second places in the Irish series and three fourth places in the UK series; after a number of fastest stage times throughout the year he really has shown his speed and this has earned him his place in the competition.

Breen, Edwards, Barrable and Donnelly will be joined by 13 other competitors from the regional Fiesta SportTrophy championships, which take place in Belgium, Italy, Sweden, Turkey, Russia and New Zealand, as well as FSTi.

Interestingly, all of the previous winners of the Shootout have been wildcard entries with Matthias Boon (BEL) taking the title in 2008, Adam Gould (UK) in 2007 and Victor Henriksson (SWE) in 2006, giving the UK + IE guys an extra incentive to continue that record.

The competitors will face a series of physical and psychological tests as well as an assessment of their media skills before taking on a driving challenge in the Fiesta ST when the competitors will be whittled down to the final five top candidates who will be interviewed by M-Sport Managing Director Malcolm Wilson OBE after which the winner will be announced.

The prize on offer to the winner of the Shootout is a 12-month employment contract with M-Sport, an apartment at the Dovenby Hall HQ and the use of a road car. The winner will have the chance to experience working in a number of different areas of the company, travelling to the European WRC events with the BP Ford Abu Dhabi World Rally Team, attending press functions and driving at PR events. In addition the winner could find themselves driving to the airport to collect guests, working in the workshop between events or even making a cup of tea for the boss!

Fiesta SportTrophy UK and IE champion Craig Breen said:
“I’m really looking forward to the FST International Shootout. It’s been a while since I’ve been in the Fiesta ST so I may well have to readjust my driving style after rallying in the Fiesta R2 for the last couple of months. I’m really excited about competing against the UK and Irish guys again in the same car, but I desperately want this prize and it was actually my main aim to achieve at the beginning of the season. I’ve been working really hard on my fitness, so hopefully it will pay off.”

Kick Energy Fiesta SportTrophy UK wildcard Matt Edwards said:
“This really is the best news for me after the last event of my season went badly, especially after spending so much time repairing my car after an accident in Ulster. I also picked up the Media Award from the UK FST series and to get a wildcard entry to the shootout means I’ve really achieved the main goals I had at the start of the year. I’m particularly proud of the Media Award as I produce all my own press releases and establish contacts with the media, on top of the car preparations, logistics, planning and preparing pace notes for the events - not to mention my full time job!”

Fiesta SportTrophy Ireland wildcard Robbie Barrable said:
“I think it’s great to be nominated for the Shootout, and I’m honestly delighted. It should be a great opportunity and a great experience to see how I perform in the tests and against the foreign competition. I am really looking forward to the challenge, although it will be a tough one!”

Kick Energy Fiesta SportTrophy UK + Ireland wildcard Mark Donnelly said:
“I am really happy to get the nomination for this event. I have been putting a lot of effort into my personal fitness to try and help me score highly in the tests. I am really hoping to do well and I would love to win as it is a great prize and would allow me to make some great contacts and try and further my career. I’m looking forward to the event!”

Anglade and Breen to renew battle at FST International Shootout

Posted: December 1, 2009 5:10 PM

After their thrilling battle for this season’s Fiesta SportTrophy International (FSTi) came down the wire at the Rally of Great Britain last month, Craig Breen and Patrick Anglade are set to come face to face again at the FST International Shootout in December.

Germany’s Anglade, the FSTi runner up, has been awarded a wildcard entry into the competition which takes place at M-Sport’s Cumbrian base. He will face Breen who qualifies by virtue of his championship victory.

The 21-year-old from Losheim am See, was locked in a tight battle throughout the six rounds of this season’s FSTi with eventual winner Breen, only losing out in the final round of the championship at Rally GB in October.

Anglade actually took more overall victories throughout the season and a higher cumulated points total than any other FSTi competitor with three overall wins. At Rally d’Italia Sardegna he beat his nearest rival by over a minute in only his second ever rally on gravel. Rally Poland saw him match the record for the best overall finish by a GpN Fiesta ST in a WRC event taking 24th place overall. And at the Rally of Great Britain he showed good pace against the Fiesta R2s in his Fiesta ST to take another victory.

19-year-old Irishman Breen’s victories at the Vodafone Rally de Portugal and Neste Oil Rally Finland, coupled with his outstanding number of stage victory bonus points gave him the championship title. He also had his share of problems over the season, suffering an electrical problem in Spain which left him trailing Anglade going into the thrilling final round.

It was one of four titles that Breen has won so far this season along with the Kick Energy FST UK, FST Ireland and the Irish National Junior Rally Championship titles. He was also the proud recipient of the prestigious Billy Coleman Award for the best young rally driver of the year in Ireland.

Breen notched up a total of 41 stage victories in four FSTi appearances this season compared to Anglade’s 16 over the course of six rallies. With the FSTi scoring system allowing all drivers to drop their lowest two scores from the season, it was Breen who edged the win by 14 points.

Anglade and Breen will be joined by 16 other competitors from the regional Fiesta SportTrophy championships in the UK, Ireland, Belgium, Italy, Sweden, Abu Dhabi and New Zealand.

Interestingly, all of the previous winners of the Shootout have been wildcard entries with Matthias Boon (BEL) taking the title in 2008, Adam Gould (UK) in 2007 and Victor Henriksson (SWE) in 2006, giving Anglade an extra incentive to continue that record.

The competitors will face a series of physical and psychological tests as well as an assessment of their media skills before embarking on the final driving challenge in the Fiesta ST. The competitors will then be whittled down to the final five top candidates who will be interviewed by M-Sport Managing Director Malcolm Wilson OBE.

The prize on offer to the winner of the Shootout is a 12-month employment contract with M-Sport, an apartment at the Dovenby Hall HQ and the provision of a road car. The winner will have the chance to experience working in a number of different areas of the company, travelling to the European WRC events with the BP Ford Abu Dhabi World Rally Team, attending press functions and driving at PR events.

Fiesta SportTrophy International champion Craig Breen said:
“I’m really looking forward to the FST International Shootout. It’s been a while since I’ve been I’ve been in the Fiesta ST so I may will have to readjust my driving style after rallying in the Fiesta R2 for the last couple of months. I’m really excited about competing against Patrick again in the same car, but I desperately want this prize and it was actually my main aim to win the Shootout at the beginning of the season. I’ve been working really hard on my fitness, so hopefully it will pay off.”

Fiesta SportTrophy International runner-up Patrick Anglade said:
“I still can’t believe that I achieved so much in my first year in FSTi. I am happy that M-Sport invited me to the Shootout and I’m actually very proud because it shows that they appreciated my performance throughout the whole season. Now I’m looking forward to meeting all the other drivers and I will do my best to prove that I was the right choice for the wildcard nomination. I will be up against the best Fiesta drivers in the world and I will do my best to be able to compete with them on their high level.”






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