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Aoife Raftery to drive Craig Breen’s Circuit of Ireland winning Peugeot 208 T16 R5 at Goodwood Festival of Speed

Motorsport Ireland Rally Academy member Aoife Raftery will drive Craig Breen’s 2015 Circuit of Ireland Rally-winning Peugeot 208 T16 R5 at this weekend’s Goodwood Festival of Speed.

The world-famous showcase of motorsport history takes place on the grounds of Goodwood House in Sussex, England from Thursday to Sunday this week.

The Festival of Speed celebrates the wonderful 51-year history of the World Rally Championship and the entry list, which includes current WRC leader Thierry Neuville and reigning champion Kalle Rovanperä, reads like and who-is-who of world motorsport.

Invited drivers get to drive cars of significant historical importance on Goodwood’s Forest Rally Stage.

Designed by 1981 World Rally Champion Hannu Mikkola, the stage was first used during the 2005 Festival of Speed. It’s tight, challenging, and entertaining for both drivers and spectators, who will get to see a mix of historic and contemporary rally cars put through their paces.

The Galway-based driver is currently contesting the Junior FIA European Rally Championship in a Peugeot 208 Rally4 and has been invited to participate in the iconic event for the first time.

She will drive the Peugeot 208 T16 R5 that the late Breen, one of her all-time rallying heroes, drove to victory on the 2015 Circuit of Ireland.

It will be her first time driving a four-wheel-drive car on any event.

The car has been recently restored to its period livery and this weekend’s event will be its first public appearance in these colours for nearly ten years.

The car arrived at Goodwood on Thursday and Raftery will join the action on the Forest Stage for the remaining three days.

“It is an absolute privilege to drive this famous car, Craig was a friend of mine and nice to be able to do this in his memory, especially at an event as prestigious as the Goodwood Festival of Speed,” said Raftery who is the first, and so far, only female driver to be selected by the Motorsport Ireland Rally Academy.

“I have never been here before, so really looking forward to seeing the history of motorsport and rallying unfold over the next few days. A huge thanks to everyone who made this happen, it was very last minute but we are here now and looking forward to it all.”

The deal to drive the car came with the blessing of the Breen family.

Unveiled in early 2014 by the Peugeot Rally Academy the Peugeot 208 T16 R5 gave Breen his maiden FIA European Rally Championship overall victory.

He and co-driver Scott Martin won the acclaimed Acropolis Rally in Greece, the third round of the 2014 series.

The win for the then 23-year-old Breen, and his English co-driver Martin, added his name to an illustrious list of past winners of the event which includes Sebastien Loeb, the late Colin McRae and fellow Irishman Paddy Hopkirk.

The following year Breen and Martin won Rally Liepāja, the forerunner to next weekend’s World Rally Championship-counting Rally Latvia.

They also won the SATA Rallye Açores in the same car on their way to second overall in the 2015 FIA European Rally Championship.

Aside from Breen’s European and Circuit of Ireland successes, the car has a storied Irish history.

Shortly after its launch in 2014, Breen competed on the Circuit of Kerry Rally, marking the first time the car was driven on a tarmac event anywhere in the world.

Raftery will compete in the ‘Contemporary Rally Cars’ class and will face the Toyota GR Yaris Rally1 Hybrid of Rovanperä and Neuville’s Hyundai i20 Coupe World Rally Car over the next few days.

Max McRae, nephew of 1995 World Rally Champion Colin, and one of Raftery’s Junior FIA European Rally Championship contemporaries, will drive his late uncle’s 2001 Ford Focus World Rally Car in the ‘Dawn of Modern Rallying’ class.

Other Irish drivers on the entry list include current Irish Tarmac Rally Championship Rally4 class frontrunner Callum  Graffin who will drive a Ford Fiesta R5.

Aoife Raftery is supported by: Motorsport Ireland | MI Rally Academy | Women in Motorsport Ireland |  Des Lyons Plant | Kenny (Peugeot) Galway | O'Neill O'Malley Architects and Project Managers | Loughrea Auto Parts | Craughwell Tyre Centre | Sean Fleming Motors | Quinn Hardware | Kerry Motorsport News

Text By Sean Moriarty

Photo of Aoife Raftery kneeling (C) Michael Chester/Motorsport Ireland 

Action shot of car in air by Red Bull Content Pool 

Other shots of Peugeot 208 T16 R5 by Aoife Raftery Rallying/Kerry Motorsport News



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