Breen to drive for Hyundai in Finland

Craig Breen will join Thierry Neuville and Andreas Mikkelsen in the Hyundai Motorsport team for Neste Rally Finland.

The Irishman was named by the Korean manufacturer on Tuesday and will attend the team’s factory for a seat-fitting in an i20 Coupe WRC on the same day.

Breen, who lost his seat at Citroën Racing at the end of last year, has been working hard to find a way back into the sport’s top flight since.

Breen, who has contested a selection of national rallies in a variety of R5 cars this season, said: “I am chuffed to be given this chance to join Hyundai Motorsport for Rally Finland, and to get back in a world rally car.

“It’s been a long and patient wait, having to watch everyone else drive this year. I am honoured to have this one-off opportunity with Paul [Nagle] as my co-driver.”

The 29-year-old has started Neste Rally Finland nine times and drove a DS 3 WRC to third place on the 2016 event.

“Finland,” said Breen, “is the rally I’ve done most in the WRC so I hope I can bring something to the team. I am getting plenty of seat time before Finland.

“It will remain a challenge but one I am ready to grasp with both hands. I’ll be competing with the #42, a number I’ve raced with since my first year in karting in 1998, and that has always been very lucky. Let’s hope it remains that way!”

Ahead of the event, Breen will participate in Hyundai’s pre-event test and at Rally Estonia, where he competes alongside team-mate Mikkelsen.

Hyundai Motorsport team director Andrea Adamo said: “Rally Finland is a very particular type of event that warrants an approach like no other on the calendar. It’s a huge challenge for teams and crews alike.

“With the championship battle entering a critical phase, and competition being so close among the manufacturers, we have brought Craig Breen into our line-up for Finland.

“He has demonstrated his class at this event in the past and has a lot of experience, which will be invaluable to us. We are making sure he has enough preparation with Rally Estonia, an event similar in style to Finland, and the pre-event test. We welcome Craig and Paul to Hyundai Motorsport for this rally and look forward to seeing what they can do alongside Thierry/Nicolas [Gilsoul] and Andreas/Anders [Jæger].”

A double podium for Hyundai Motorsport – with Dani Sordo winning and Mikkelsen finishing third – last time out at Rally Italia Sardegna enhanced the Korean squad’s advantage at the top of the Manufacturers’ FIA World Rally Championship standings to 44 points.

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