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Irishman Breen achieved a lifelong dream last season when he won his home event, one of the world’s oldest rallies, en route to second in the FIA European Championship. He returns in a guest appearance in a Citroën DS 3 R5.
Breen (above), who drives for the Abu Dhabi Total World Rally Team in the WRC, faces strong opposition from European contenders as well as British Championship competitors headed by Welshman Evans.
“The Circuit of Ireland is very close to my heart and I really wanted to come back and try to win it again. My friends and supporters from Waterford and beyond were also desperate for me to do the rally and it is with their help that we have been able to make it happen.
“I love the rally, I love its rich heritage and I love the magnificent trophy which goes to the winner – I want to bring it back to Waterford for another year,” said Breen.
M-Sport pilot Evans heads WRC 2 after wins in Monte-Carlo and Sweden and also leads the British Championship after victory in last month’s opening round in Wales.
He drives a Ford Fiesta R5 for the DMACK British Rally Team and with limited experience of the bumpy Northern Irish asphalt knows the competition will be fierce.
“The stages are both technical and high speed so they require detailed pace notes, good car set-up and precision. The competition is immense, probably one of the strongest regional entries for a while, so hopefully we can push right from the start,” said Evans (below).
The Belfast-based event begins with a qualifying stage tomorrow (Thursday) before 14 stages covering 209.56km on Friday and Saturday.