Saturday | 25 Sep 2021

Breen relishes Finland chance to break win duck

Craig Breen believes next week’s Secto Automotive Rally Finland (1 - 3 October) will provide one of the best opportunities to score an elusive maiden FIA World Rally Championship win.

The Irishman has been on top form, bagging second places finishes in his last two outings in Estonia and Belgium. Finland’s gravel roads share the same fast jumpy characteristics as the Baltic fixture and Breen wants to improve on his third place there in 2016.

“As a crew we tend to go well on events with this kind of profile and I think this could be another strong event for us given our current form,” said the Hyundai i20 World Rally Car driver.

“It’s the rally where you have to be the most committed. I’m still searching for my first win – it feels like it has been eluding us now for some time, but we are getting closer and Finland will present one of the better opportunities this year.”

Video: Rally Finland memorable moments

Breen has competed on Finland’s round of the FIA World Rally Championship 10 times. But those were classic mid-summer events and next week’s mid-autumn rally could pose a very different question in terms of the weather and the conditions.

“It’s going to be a bit tricky going there,” said Breen. “We haven’t been in more than two years and not being in Jyväskylä for that amount of time is strange for a driver in the world championship.

“But we just don’t know much about the conditions either. The roads could be quite soft, it could be a tricky rally. I suppose, because nobody has competed on a Rally Finland in October, it will be a bit of level playing field.

“But the down side to that is that it’s the rally which I know the best. I’ve done it nine or 10 times and to go there with that knowledge [of a summer event] would have been really nice. Now, we don’t even know if the notes we have will work so well as they would have done when we made them.”

Rally rewind: Finland 2019

Rally rewind: Finland 2019

It’s been more than two years since the forests and lakes of central Finland echoed to the sound of the FIA World Rally ...

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Regardless of the conditions and the time of year, Breen is always a fan of heading north for the season’s fastest stages.

“OK, things will be a bit different,” he added, “but it’s still Finland and it will be very nice to be back.”

• Full coverage from Secto Automotive Rally Finland will be available on WRC+ All Live here, including every stage broadcast as it happens as well as key interviews, features and expert analysis from the service park.

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