Breen: brave and fast was key
Finding a brave and fast rhythm on the first day at Rally Sweden was the key to Craig Breen's podium success, according to the Citroën driver.
The Irishman secured the best result of his WRC career to date when he finished 19.8sec behind winner Thierry Neuville on the Värmland region's tricky snow-covered stages. The result also gave Citroën's C3 WRC its fourth podium finish in the series.
Breen, who made his WRC debut at Rally Sweden in 2014, was one of the star performers last weekend.
The 28-year-old began the event strongly on Friday and took full advantage of his ninth place in the running order to claim two stage wins. Another stage win followed on Saturday, enabling Breen to move into second place, only 4.2sec shy of the rally lead. He and co-driver Scott Martin held their nerve on Sunday to seal a memorable result.
"It was one of those weekends where it all clicked," Breen admitted. "In one of the first few corners on Friday, I went in a bit hot, but it stuck and so I tried in the next one and the next one and I was able to carry that rhythm."
Breen paid tribute to the hard work of his Citroën team for giving him a car that was capable of challenging at the front in Sweden – particularly after the C3 WRC endured a largely troubled introduction to the series in 2017.
He said: "The guys worked so hard in the last few months on gravel and worked on snow, this is a complete turnaround from 12 months ago - it's been an absolute pleasure to drive the car and I've enjoyed every moment."
Citroën Racing team boss Pierre Budar admitted Breen's result had surpassed expectations. "I don't think many people expected him to do quite so well, perhaps including Craig himself!" he said.
"Obviously, we have always had great faith in him, but he really blew us away here by being both very quick and incredibly consistent. What he did this weekend was quite simply extraordinary! It's definitely another big step forward in his development."
Breen will return to the WRC driving seat at Rally Argentina, after being forced to make way for Sébastien Loeb rejoining the team in Mexico and Corsica.
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