Thursday | 30 Dec 2021

Breen buoyant after Puma tests

M-Sport Ford World Rally Team leader Craig Breen says couldn’t have hoped for a better run into 2022 than the testing programme he’s just completed with the Puma Hybrid WRC Rally1.

The Irishman’s last WRC outing was in October when he drove a Hyundai i20 to third at Secto Automotive Rally Finland.

He joined M-Sport Ford the following week on a two-year deal and has been completing a testing programme with the British squads ever since. 

Despite missing out on the final two rounds of this year’s championship, Breen believes his preparations will stand him in good stead ahead of next year’s season opener in Monte-Carlo. 

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“A while ago I felt stepping away from the last couple of rounds in a World Rally Car could benefit me in terms of getting used to the new [Rally1] car and I honestly feel like that’s the way it’s worked out,” beamed the 31-year-old. 

“I feel very comfortable with the car, it feels natural to me and that can only be a good thing moving forward to next season.”

Breen has driven the Puma on all surfaces and completed his final test of the year on snow in northern Finland earlier in this month.

Breen will lead the team in 2022

“It was really useful to get out there and work with the geometry and the differential set-up,” he said of his time in the car in Rovaniemi. “We were really just scanning through all of the [set-up] options we have. It’s gone well. It was great to get the car into the snow and see how it felt.

“Looking back now, I’m really, really pleased with the way the testing has gone since [September]. I feel really at home with the team and the car now, and now we’re just ready to get going on this thing. I can’t wait for Monte Carlo and the start of the season.”

M-Sport Ford will field four Puma cars at Rallye Monte-Carlo (20 - 23 January), with Adrien Fourmaux, Gus Greensmith and Sébastien Loeb all joining Breen for the first round.

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