Tuesday | 26 Oct 2021

Breen backs Junior WRC four-wheel drive switch

Craig Breen is in full support of the FIA Junior WRC’s decision to move to a four-wheel drive format next season.

The one-make series, now in its 20th year, has been used by some of rallying’s brightest talents as a launchpad to the sport’s top tier. 

In 2022 the FIA Junior WRC will enter a new four-wheel drive chapter, with M-Sport Poland Ford Fiesta Rally3 cars set to replace the front-wheel-drive Fiesta Rally4 cars which have featured since 2019.

Breen, who has just secured his first full top-level programme after signing a two-year deal with M-Sport Ford to drive its new hybrid-era Puma WRC Rally1, won the championship in 2011 and believes the move will give young drivers a head start in their careers.

"I think the earlier that these guys and girls can get into four-wheel drive cars the better," he said. “It will give the drivers a head start into how a four-wheel drive car is handling before they get into the bigger categories.

M-Sport Poland's Fiesta Rally3 will be the vehicle of choice from 2022

"The R2 and Rally4 cars have been great, but ultimately, the top tier of the World Rally Championship is four-wheel drive.”

The Fiesta Rally3 is powered by a 1.5-litre EcoBoost engine, delivering 215bhp and 400Nm of torque through a five-speed sequential gearbox. It has a top speed of 185kph and reaches 100kph in five seconds.

The 2022 FIA Junior WRC Championship will also be the most cost-effective way to compete in four-wheel drive machinery at world championship level - something Breen believes is important. 

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"I think it's a fantastic opportunity with the Rally3 car because the price is still relatively small, and the championship can be run at a relatively good economic level of costs.”

“The championship provided a great learning ground for me, and I still take a lot of things that I learned in 2012 with me today,” he added.

The 2022 FIA Junior WRC calendar is still being finalised, although an announcement is expected in the coming weeks.

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