Breen: Result in Ypres “important” after WRC form struggles

Craig Breen says he isn’t thinking about the pressure to arrest his World Rally Championship form, but admits a result at Ypres Rally Belgium this weekend will be important.

Breen: Result in Ypres “important” after WRC form struggles

The M-Sport driver has dropped from fourth to sixth in the WRC standings after three consecutive rallies where the Irishman has hit trouble.

After finishing second in Sardinia, Breen was forced to retire from a strong position at Safari Rally Kenya when he suffered a puncture, before a broken steering arm on his Ford Puma curtailed his running.

In the following round in Estonia, Breen misjudged a braking zone and ran wide into the grass where he subsequently hit a concrete post hidden in the undergrowth. The impact damaged the suspension forcing him out of the running for a strong result.

Breen was also running inside the top five in Finland two weeks ago when he misjudged a crest and hit a rock-filled bank that ripped the right rear wheel from the car.

This weekend, the Irishman intends to get his season back on track at a rally in which he won in 2019 and finished second on the Ypres asphalt last year.

“Honestly I’m trying not to think about it [the pressure] too much and I will go and drive the roads here, enjoy it and see what happens, that is the plan,” said Breen, who has scored two podium finishes so far this season.

"What is happening is bad luck but we are doing mistakes as well. I have had similar moments last year and for some reason luck is on your side and you pass through them a bit like Kalle [Rovanpera] in Finland when he had a couple of moments. That is how it is.

Craig Breen, Paul Nagle, M-Sport Ford World Rally Team Ford Puma Rally1

Craig Breen, Paul Nagle, M-Sport Ford World Rally Team Ford Puma Rally1

Photo by: McKlein / Motorsport Images

“It is nice to be back here again and it is nice to be back here with spectators, it is always a pleasure to be here so we will see. I’m looking forward to it honestly.

“I just want to try and get over the weekend and try and get a finish, and it is so important now after what has happened over the last couple of rallies.”

M-Sport boss Malcolm Wilson believes dealing with pressure is part of the reason why Breen has struggled for results in recent rounds, and feels that his driver needs to try and relax more behind the wheel.

“I think that [dealing with pressure] is definitely a part of it,” Wilson told Autosport.

“The trouble is, it is easier said than done but the more relaxed he can be as a driver the better the results will be. That is the key ingredient for Craig to get some results.

“This has been the most intense calendar and timescales ever to turn cars around. It would be nice for the team to get a nice confidence boosting result to be honest.”

Read Also:

Breen’s preparation for Ypres Rally has seen the 32-year-old win the Jim Walsh Cork Forest Rally in his native Ireland, driving a 2006 specification Ford Focus WRC car.

While the win helped his mental preparation, an engine fire on his Puma wiped out the majority of this pre-event test day in Belgium last week.

“Our test was very difficult and I have a lot of work to do on the shakedown to get a feeling of the tarmac as I didn’t really get going properly on the test," he added.

“Shakedown is a good stage so we will try to get the best we can out of it.”

Rally Belgium begins with the first competitive stage on Friday morning.

shares
comments

Related video

Solberg reveals unusual mental reset after WRC Finland shunt
Previous article

Solberg reveals unusual mental reset after WRC Finland shunt

Next article

Inside Toyota’s new WRC dream factory where rally conquerers come to life

Inside Toyota’s new WRC dream factory where rally conquerers come to life
How a Toyota lifeline reignited Lappi's WRC career Plus

How a Toyota lifeline reignited Lappi's WRC career

Motorsport can be brutal at times. One moment a driver can be the next big thing, but it can spiral in the other direction so quickly. Thankfully, sometimes drivers receive second chances. And Esapekka Lappi has taken his World Rally Championship lifeline in both hands

WRC
17 h
How team orders could make Hyundai's historic Acropolis Rally a Greek tragedy Plus

How team orders could make Hyundai's historic Acropolis Rally a Greek tragedy

Thierry Neuville led a maiden Hyundai 1-2-3 in the World Rally Championship, as the previously soft i20 N became a battle-hardened Greek warrior at the Acropolis Rally. But with team orders in play between the winner and Hyundai’s title protagonist Ott Tanak, could the result come back to haunt the team?

WRC
Sep 12, 2022
How Tanak triumphed amid a series of Belgium WRC blunders Plus

How Tanak triumphed amid a series of Belgium WRC blunders

After runaway World Rally Championship leader Kalle Rovanpera made his first major mistake of the season, the chance to take advantage was wide open for the chasing pack. Several of his rivals faltered to grasp the opportunity, but Ott Tanak made no such mistake and demonstrated his class with a third win of the campaign

WRC
Aug 22, 2022
Inside Toyota’s new WRC dream factory where rally conquerers come to life Plus

Inside Toyota’s new WRC dream factory where rally conquerers come to life

Toyota locked out the top four places in the World Rally Championship's recent Safari Rally Kenya in a clear indication of its GR Yaris Rally1 hybrid's pace and durability. Autosport was recently given a tour of the new factory where its cars are designed, tested and built, and it reveals much about the commitment of the Japanese marque to continued WRC success

WRC
Aug 19, 2022
How Rovanpera has reignited Finland's rallying obsession Plus

How Rovanpera has reignited Finland's rallying obsession

Finland may have a small population, but it has long enjoyed rallying success. Now that the nation has a new star to cheer in the form of Kalle Rovanpera, interest in the discipline is surging once again

WRC
Aug 10, 2022
How Tanak spoiled Rovanpera’s Finnish homecoming Plus

How Tanak spoiled Rovanpera’s Finnish homecoming

Kalle Rovanpera and Toyota went into Rally Finland as overwhelming favourites but came away as runners-up to a resurgent Ott Tanak and Hyundai. While it may have dampened the homecoming party, it still moved the Finn closer to the ultimate World Rally Championship prize

WRC
Aug 8, 2022
Inside Hyundai’s F1-spec mobile WRC home Plus

Inside Hyundai’s F1-spec mobile WRC home

Hyundai is one of the World Rally Championship's big three, and has a brand-new travelling facility befitting of that status. The team invited Autosport for a behind-the-scenes look at its state-of-the-art HQ, which comes complete with all the bells and whistles you'd expect of a top Formula 1 outfit

WRC
Jul 27, 2022
How Rovanpera's latest Estonia masterclass left his WRC rivals stumped Plus

How Rovanpera's latest Estonia masterclass left his WRC rivals stumped

After trailing Toyota team-mate Elfyn Evans for much of Rally Estonia's opening day, WRC points leader Kalle Rovanpera took advantage of a change in the weather and never looked back afterwards. Winning for a fifth time this year at the scene of his 2021 breakthrough, and with a breathtaking powerstage bonus for good measure, his advantage is already looking difficult to topple

WRC
Jul 18, 2022