Craig Breen has been absent from the WRC since the end of 2018. Here the Irishman tells wrc.com how he is staying match-fit in readiness for a championship return.
“I’m pretty sure most people reading wrc.com know how much this sport means to me. And you’ll know how much it’s hurting not to be competing in the WRC right now.
So, what do I do about that? It seems there are two roads to go down. I can sit and wait for the telephone to ring or my co-driver Paul Nagle and I can get out there, do some rallies, keep ourselves sharp and enjoy the sport we both love.
We’ve gone for the second option.
Be under no illusion, we want to be back at the top level and we’re doing absolutely everything possible behind the scenes to get there. The WRC is unfinished business.
In fact, I feel I’ve barely scratched the surface of the business. I have so much more to give at that level and I know I can still do a job and win some rallies for a manufacturer.
But in the meantime, whenever I have the chance to get behind the wheel of a rally car, I’m going to take it. Competing in Ireland, as you can imagine, was an absolute no-brainer for me.
Those roads are some of the best in the world, they’re where I grew up watching my dad compete and it’s an honour for me to go down them in a Ford Fiesta R5 now. And we haven’t done badly so far: two rallies and two wins.
Italy’s proving to be a tougher gym. Take Rallye Sanremo last weekend. I’ve not been there for six years, I didn’t get a pre-event test and I’m going up against guys who are competing there year-in, year-out with serious cars and proper budgets.
As you all know, I like a bit of rallying history and winning an event like Sanremo, which has real WRC history and heritage, was fantastic, but going to Italy and beating those boys in their own backyard under those conditions was just as important.
A few people questioned whether I was doing the right thing to go out and compete in the Italian Rally Championship. There was a feeling I was putting a bit of a target on my back. I totally disagree.
If I wasn’t competing in Sanremo, I would have been out running, on the bike or something like that. But writing pace notes and competing and pushing myself and Paul as hard as possible in a rally car is definitely better for staying sharp, taking seat time and keeping ourselves in the best shape possible for when we come back to the WRC.
And Italy’s not going too bad either, we’ve one win from two starts in a private Skoda Fabia R5.
But the WRC is the centre of the universe for Paul and I. It’s where our sights are set. And we’re both very much looking forward to seeing you back there very soon.”