The Irishman tested the Korean manufacturer’s latest Rally2 contender for three days in France last month, following on from Ott Tänak and WRC 3 reigning champion Jari Huttunen, who previously tested it in November.
Built by Hyundai Motorsport’s customer racing department, it is expected that WRC2 Hyundai drivers Oliver Solberg and Ole Christian Veiby will be among the first to experience the new car in competition.
Running in conditions which varied from dry asphalt through rain, snow and ice, Breen found the car an improvement across the board on its predecessor, the i20 R5.
“The feeling is very, very good from the car,” said Breen. “It’s predictable and consistent when it comes to the roll centre and the transition of grip and weight in the corner. Being a new car, there’s been the freedom to work on the geometry and that’s made a difference.
“This is a completely new car and it’s a really big step – it just gives you so much confidence as a driver and that’s a very good thing. When you have that, you can push that bit more and have a good feeling from the car. That’s what we have here.”
Breen also praised engine work in areas like throttle control and management.
Working on all aspects of the car was made easier by the changeable conditions.
“When,” he said, “you have dry, consistent conditions, you can tune a car to the road and just make it faster and faster, but when you have the conditions and grip levels constantly changing like this, it makes it much more complicated. So to be able to make the steps we have in terms of set-up and speed, I’m really happy.”
Breen will share Hyundai Motorsport’s third i20 Coupe WRC with Dani Sordo this season but says he would be very happy to blend those World Rally Car outings with some i20 N Rally2 action.
He said: “Let’s see when the homologation’s done, but I’d love the chance to get out in it.”