Breen hopes Estonia performance sent a message to WRC teams

Craig Breen hopes his Rally Estonia performance sent a message to World Rally Championship teams as the Hyundai third driver bids to secure a full-time seat next season.

Breen hopes Estonia performance sent a message to WRC teams

The Irishman equalled his career-best WRC result, finishing second to Toyota’s Kalle Rovanpera, in his first gravel event in a WRC car since last year’s Rally Estonia where he also finished second.

Breen, who also finished second on the 2018 Rally Sweden for Citroen, is in his third season with Hyundai having shared the team's third car with Sebastian Loeb and Dani Sordo in 2019 and 2020.

Estonia marked his third appearance of 2021, having contested February’s Arctic Rally Finland and April’s Rally Croatia before sitting out for Sordo to drive in Portugal, Sardinia and Kenya.

Breen impressed by ending Rally Estonia as Hyundai’s highest placed driver, but believes he could have challenged Rovanpera harder with more regular seat time.

PLUS: How Finland’s newest rally hero made WRC history in Estonia

The 31-year-old is eager to secure a first full-time WRC programme next year, having missed two rallies in his most active WRC campaign with Citroen in 2018.

Hyundai and Toyota are yet to confirm plans for their third cars next year, while M-Sport is assessing its options for 2022 when the WRC’s hybrid era begins.

When asked by Autosport if he thought his performance in Estonia has sent a message to WRC teams, Breen said: “Yes, I think it does.

“Obviously that [a full-time WRC drive} is what myself and [co-driver] Paul [Nagle] set out to achieve. We want to be world champions and it doesn’t take a mathematician to work it out that you can’t win a world championship doing half the rallies.

Craig Breen, Paul Nagle, Hyundai Motorsport Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC

Craig Breen, Paul Nagle, Hyundai Motorsport Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC

Photo by: Fabien Dufour / Hyundai Motorsport

“We are looking at all the options. I feel at home I feel conformable and snug where we are at Hyundai, but there are things outside of my control.

“We just need to try and find that opportunity to get a full season and make the most of it.”

Breen declared himself happy with his result in Estonia last weekend, given his rivals had just completed three consecutive gravel rallies before the event.

“[A podium] was obviously the ambition to try and do the best that we could do,” Breen added.

“But I had some reservations before the rally because last year, when we did the good result here, everyone had been stopped for six or eight months and on the sidelines with COVID-19 so I felt the level was a bit more fair for everybody.

“This year the guys were coming out of three gravel rallies on the bounce and I thought it was going to be bit more of a difficult task.

“In the end it actually worked out pretty okay, so I’m very happy.”

Breen will now focus his attention on August's Rally Ypres, an event he won the last time it was held in 2019. The rally joins the WRC calendar for the first time this year.

shares
comments

Related video

WRC Estonia: The Good, The Bad and a Record-breaker
Previous article

WRC Estonia: The Good, The Bad and a Record-breaker

Next article

BT Sport secures new WRC broadcast deal until 2024

BT Sport secures new WRC broadcast deal until 2024
Load comments
How WRC legend Ogier will be remembered by his peers Plus

How WRC legend Ogier will be remembered by his peers

After winning his eighth WRC title, Sebastien Ogier has drawn the curtain on his full-time rallying career. To understand Ogier's legacy, many of his former rivals, team-mates and colleagues have shared their thoughts on a vastly successful career

WRC
Nov 26, 2021
Ranking lost WRC legend Richard Burns' 10 best rallies Plus

Ranking lost WRC legend Richard Burns' 10 best rallies

Richard Burns was a determined driver who took on the best rally drivers in the world during a boom period in the early 2000s, and beat them. On the 20th anniversary of his crowning glory in winning the 2001 WRC title, and 16 years on from his death on the same date, Autosport picks out his 10 greatest drives

WRC
Nov 25, 2021
The internal focus that made Burns a legendary world rally champion Plus

The internal focus that made Burns a legendary world rally champion

At the turn of the millennium, WRC was full to the brim with rallying's great and good - and 20 years ago on this day, Richard Burns became England's first world rally champion. Although Burns' natural talent drove him to the top, his steely determination and mental strength was the key attribute behind his title-winning form

WRC
Nov 25, 2021
How Ogier emerged out of Loeb's shadow to form his own WRC legend Plus

How Ogier emerged out of Loeb's shadow to form his own WRC legend

OPINION: Adding an eighth WRC title to his name, Sebastien Ogier has bowed out from full-time rallying in style. Having been compared throughout his career with nine-time champion Sebastien Loeb, Ogier has convincingly demonstrated that he can stand on his own as one of the greatest rally drivers in history

WRC
Nov 22, 2021
How confronting self-doubt drove Ogier to become a WRC legend Plus

How confronting self-doubt drove Ogier to become a WRC legend

This weekend's Rally Monza marks the end of an era in the World Rally Championship, as Sebastien Ogier prepares to bring down the curtain on his full-time career with an eighth title. For all his enduring success, the Toyota driver reveals in an exclusive interview that lingering insecurities have compelled his quest for perfection

WRC
Nov 18, 2021
The third generation McRae on his way to the WRC Plus

The third generation McRae on his way to the WRC

The McRae family name is steeped in rallying history, with eight British titles between Jimmy, Colin and Alister - plus the small matter of the 1995 WRC title too. Next on the conveyor of talent is Alister's 17-year-old Max McRae, who’s setting out in Australia to conquer the world of rallying and return the famous name to the WRC...

WRC
Nov 12, 2021
Inside Hyundai’s radical approach to prepare for the WRC hybrid era Plus

Inside Hyundai’s radical approach to prepare for the WRC hybrid era

As the World Rally Championship undergoes its biggest shift in regulations for a generation, teams are taking radical measures to prepare for its new era. Hyundai's unique approach involved conducting a private 1500km rally in Italy and Autosport went to see how the team is preparing for 2022

WRC
Nov 4, 2021
How Neuville stole the show from Ogier vs Evans slugfest in Spain Plus

How Neuville stole the show from Ogier vs Evans slugfest in Spain

While all pre-event chat focused on the two World Rally Championship title fighters, their closest challenger charged into the spotlight on Rally Spain. Thierry Neuville's star turn and another strong drive from Elfyn Evans in his fight with Sebastien Ogier made for an intriguing event as the 2021 campaign nears its crunch point

WRC
Oct 18, 2021