Craig Breen heads the entries at the final round of the British Championship on the Isle of Man as he builds up to his next WRC outing in Corsica later this month.
The Irishman is the top seed for the three-day Rally Isle of Man, which begins today (Thursday), in a Citroën DS 3 R5, using the event as a key part of his preparations for the Tour de Corse - Rallye de France (29 September - 2 October).
The bumpy and narrow Manx asphalt lanes are similar in nature to those Breen will encounter in Corsica, when he partners Kris Meeke in the Abu Dhabi Total World Rally Team line-up.
Breen will face tough competition from newly-crowned British champion Elfyn Evans in a Ford Fiesta R5. Welshman Evans will also be in Corsica as he bids to extend his WRC 2 lead in the final outing of his WRC support category campaign.
Another strong challenger will be Mark Higgins, a five-time rally winner who hails from the island. The triple British champion will be a team-mate of Evans in a one-off appearance, three months after shattering the Manx TT course lap record in a Subaru WRX STI at an average speed of more than 207kph.
“I’m really looking forward to being back on Tarmac,” Breen said on his website. “I need to get behind the wheel on asphalt competitively so we can be at our best when we compete at WRC Corsica.”
Corsica will be the fourth WRC round of the season for Breen, who is chasing a full-time seat in 2017. He claimed a maiden WRC podium at his previous outing in Finland in July by finishing third (below).
Rally Isle of Man features 20 speed tests covering 270.37km before the finish on Saturday afternoon.