Tuesday | 20 Jul 2021

Breen’s Estonia message: ‘Come and get me’

Craig Breen hopes last weekend’s second place at Rally Estonia will help pave the way to a full-time drive in next season’s hybrid-era FIA World Rally Championship.

The Irishman is sharing Hyundai Motorsport’s third i20 World Rally Car with Dani Sordo this year. This was just his third outing of the season and his first on gravel since Estonia’s inaugural 2020 WRC fixture.

He has started only seven rounds with the Korean team in three seasons, but Sunday’s result marked back-to-back runner up finishes on the Baltic country’s fast dirt roads –
and he hopes it will make team bosses sit-up and take notice in his quest for a full-time seat.

“That’s obviously what myself and Paul [co-driver Nagle] have set out to achieve,” said Breen. “We want to be world champions and it doesn’t take a mathematician to figure out you can’t win a world championship doing half the rallies.

“We’re obviously looking at all the options. I feel at home, I feel comfortable and snug, let’s say, where we are at the moment in Hyundai but there are things outside my control. We just need to find that opportunity to get the full season and make the most of it.”

Video: Rally Estonia - best of action

Aside from his current employer, Breen has been strongly linked with M-Sport Ford, with whom he won the WRC Academy in 2011 and the SWRC title in 2012.

Breen kept the pressure on eventual winner Kalle Rovanperä throughout Friday’s opening leg. A stunning time in Saturday’s opening Peipsiääre test carried the Finn more than 20sec clear and from then on Breen’s goal was to protect second.

“That was impressive I have to say, it was very, very impressive and something special. I honestly drove my best stage that I could, there’s no point in trying to say I did something different, I did something wrong. That was all that myself and Paul had at that moment,” he explained.

“Once he had done that it was a different objective for the rest of the weekend. I was blown away. The first thing I said to Paul when I saw the time come up on the radio was that it was something really, really special, so hats off to him.”

Breen admitted he had reservations about whether he could match last year’s career-best finish.

“Last year when we did a good result here everybody had been stopped for six or eight months and everyone was on the sidelines because of Covid,” he added.

“I felt the level was a little bit more fair for everybody, but this year the guys are coming out of three gravel rallies on the bounce and straight into this one here, so I thought it was going to be a more difficult task. But, in the end, it actually worked out pretty OK.”

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