Craig Breen has backed his fellow Irishman Callum Devine to “really show his potential” in the FIA European Rally Championship.
Devine, a member of the Motorsport Ireland Rally Academy, has endured a luckless start to his ERC1 Junior campaign in a Hyundai i20 R5 with retirements on Rally di Roma Capitale and Rally Liepāja.
But Breen, a five-time ERC event winner and among the contenders for victory on this week’s Rally Fafe Montelongo for Team MRF Tyres, is convinced Devine has what it takes to shine in the ERC.
“Unfortunately, things have gone against him and he hasn’t got the roll of the dice in the two rallies he’s done. But his pace is definitely there and I have no doubts of his talents. It’s nice there was a break between Latvia and [Portugal] so he’s had some time to get everything back in a good way. I hope this week, back on Tarmac again, he can really show his potential and show what both myself and a lot of people back home know already, that he’s an extremely talented young lad. I hope his fortunes turn for the better this week.”
Devine, who has a replacement Hyundai i20 R5 at his disposal following his Rally Liepāja crash and a stand-in co-driver, James Fulton, as a result of Brian Foy being unavailable due to work commitments, has a clear plan for Rally Fafe Montelongo.
“We had a bad start to the season with some bad luck in Rome and everybody knows we had a bit of an accident in Latvia,” said Devine. “It means we’ve got zero points at the moment so we need to build on our speed throughout the weekend, that has to be the realistic target. Of course, we want to mix it with the other ERC Juniors but the guys are going fast and we need to get some points on the board.
“This is a new event for everybody and we don’t know that much apart from watching onboards on YouTube. It looks quite similar to some of the Italian roads we’ve sampled this year. We’ve been keeping active and keeping fit since Latvia. We’ve analysed things in the break to see where we can improve.”