Craig Breen can’t wait to get down to business at this week’s Rally Sweden (13 - 16 February) after being drafted into Hyundai Motorsport’s line-up instead of nine-time world champion Sébastien Loeb.
Breen was called up hours before the deadline for entry changes the morning after after last month’s Rallye Monte-Carlo finished and is waiting impatiently to return to the wheel of the Korean manufacturer’s i20 World Rally Car.
“For me, it’s been a long time since Wales Rally GB and my last time, so I just want to get driving again,” said the Irishman, who will partner world champion Ott Tänak and Monte-Carlo winner Thierry Neuville.
“We had a good test, we had really cold weather overnight. It was down around minus eight, so we had a good base in the morning. Honestly, I’m just delighted to be back with Hyundai.
“When you’re in one of these cars, you really are one of the very fortunate ones, so you have to enjoy it.”
Video: Craig Breen's Hyundai return
Breen smiled at the suggestion he was replacing WRC legend Loeb.
“Replace a nine-time world champion? I’m not sure about that, I think Seb had a bit of input into the decision not to do this rally. But look, this is a chance for Paul (co-driver Nagle) and myself to get out there again and show what we’re capable of,” he added.
“I think we’ve got to be bringing points home and we have the chance to be fighting for a podium or the rally win. We want to prove we’re a good choice for Sweden, we want to show our strength.”
Breen was at pains to thank Hyundai team principal Andrea Adamo, adding: “I’m just over the moon to be back in and very, very grateful to everybody. I’ll do whatever it takes to stay with this team now. I really want to move on with my career with this team. It’s a special place to be.”
Sweden holds happy memories for Breen. He scored his best WRC result with second place aboard a Citroën C3 in 2018.