Sweden stars' WRC sabbatical
After impressive performances at Rally Sweden, Craig Breen and Hayden Paddon each face a spell on the WRC sidelines as teams rotate their driver line-up.
Citroën driver Breen recorded the best result of his career with second place in Sweden, but will miss the next two rounds in Mexico and Corsica. Paddon [pictured above], who finished fifth, faces a longer three-month break from WRC competition.
Rising star Breen has a 10-round programme with Citroën this year and will also miss the penultimate round in Spain, as nine-time champion Sébastien Loeb returns to drive the manufacturer's third C3 WRC at the three fixtures.
The Irishman admitted the hiatus would take some getting used to.
"Since I was eight years old, every year I've been doing some form of motor sport, so to have two months out - this is the longest I've ever been out," he said. "I don't know what to do with myself. It's going to be a strange couple of months, all I can do is get myself in the best possible position for my return."
Paddon has a seven-round programme with Hyundai this year, sharing the team's third i20 Coupe WRC with Dani Sordo, who will drive in Mexico, Corsica and Argentina.
"There is a little sadness now however thinking that it is three months until our next WRC event with Rally Portugal in May," Paddon explained.
"Argentina in particular will be a hard rally to miss. But to soften the blow I now travel home to New Zealand to compete in the opening two rounds of the National Championship."
Sweden debrief: part 1
Reflections from 2018’s only winter round
Ogier makes his point in Sweden
Strategic shuffle boosts Ogier's title campaign
Breen: brave and fast was key
Irishman reveals approach behind his Swedish podium success