Mon 01 Aug 2022

Breen gets the go-ahead for Finland push

M-Sport Ford star Craig Breen has been given the green light for a ‘full send’ at this week’s Secto Rally Finland (4 - 7 August).

By his own admission, the Irishman is in the middle of a three-rally run which offers him the strongest possibility of a podium or win this season. 

While last month’s Rally Estonia ended in disappointment after a small mistake – this week’s Jyväskylä-based WRC round is another of Breen’s favourites. The third, Ypres Rally Belgium (18 - 21 August) offers the Puma Rally1 Hybrid driver a chance to shine on asphalt.

M-Sport Ford team principal Richard Millener admitted the time was right for his lead driver to take the bull by the horns.  

“Craig’s dropped down to sixth in the championship and now, personally, I feel the time might have come to throw caution to the wind,” he said. “It’s not been the easiest of starts to the season, through no real fault of his own.

“I’d like to see Craig crack on and see what he can do in Finland. Getting yourself into that lead fight is worth tenths of a second – we’ve seen it time and again and you could see it with Kalle [Rovanperä] and Elfyn [Evans] with their battle in Estonia. 

“We’ve had good feedback from the drivers with the car, so we’re confident from that side and we’re confident in Craig. We know how fast he is – especially in Finland.”

Breen has started Finland 11 times previously, finishing on the podium twice. Unsurprisingly, he’s looking forward to this week.

“Finland is always a special one,” said the 32-year-old. “It’s somewhere I’ve always felt quite at home and I love the challenge of the fast stages. For me, I’ll take the same approach as I did in Estonia – but hopefully we won’t have the same bad luck.

“Like I said, we know Finland well and we know we can take the car there and be competitive. That’s what we’re looking to do.”

Breen is joined in the Puma squad by Gus Greensmith, Adrien Fourmaux and Pierre-Louis Loubet as well as Jari Huttunen, who makes his top-flight debut on home soil. 

  • Full coverage from Secto Rally Finland will be available on WRC+ All Live here, including every stage broadcast as it happens as well as key interviews, features and expert analysis from the service park.
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