Mon 13 Feb 2023

Breen: 'I needed this'

Craig Breen’s second place at Rally Sweden has helped him erase the memories of a difficult 2022 season.

The Irishman ended his M-Sport Ford agreement a year early in order to return to Hyundai Motorsport on a part-programme this season. The runners-up spot in Umeå was the near-perfect way to re-start his relationship with the Korean manufacturer.

“I needed this,” Breen said. “It was a tough year last year, with some fairly dark days. I wanted to come here and make a fresh start. I’ve done that and the feeling is very, very good.”

Breen led for the first half of the rally before succumbing to a charging Ott Tänak, ironically in the Ford Puma Rally1 Hybrid he stepped out of last season (and into the i20 N Rally1 Tänak vacated).

“This weekend has brought back all of the really strong feelings for this sport,” said Breen. “It’s reminded me why I get up and work for this everyday. I worked on a lot of things over the winter and I always knew this was possible – I always knew I had this speed and this performance inside of me.

“Like I said earlier in the rally, I’m a lucky lad with a second chance here. I knew what I could do and this event has proved it.”

Breen’s next outing in the i20 N Rally1 hasn’t been decided, but he will be contesting Rally Portugal as part of his i20 Rally2 effort with Hyundai Portugal.

Starts: Thursday, July 18, 2024 at 4:31:00 AM
Starts: Friday, July 26, 2024 at 7:00:00 AM
Starts: Saturday, July 27, 2024 at 6:00:00 AM