WRC return in Sweden exceeded expectations, Citroen's Breen says

Craig Breen believes he's never felt so at home in a rally car than during his World Rally Championship return, his first outing in a works-specification Citroen DS 3 WRC

WRC return in Sweden exceeded expectations, Citroen's Breen says

The Irishman and co-driver Scott Martin finished Rally Sweden eighth overall, having posted a third-fastest stage time on his first outing in a factory-spec WRC car, one he'd only tested for 50 miles beforehand.

"It's a great, great car and a real rally car - the team knows everything about this car and how to get the best out of it," he said.

"I haven't been able to get this kind of confidence from a car in a long, long time.

"It feels so comfortable, so safe and I know there's so much potential in me; I'm only at 70, 80 or 90 per cent with it at the moment."

Breen admitted he'd surprised himself with his pace on what was only his third start in Sweden.

"We had a fastest split time and a third-fastest [stage] time: that's so much more than I expected," he added.

"I was thinking I'd be coming down in seconds from these guys, from three to two to one second per kilometre off these guys, so to be looking at coming from 0.9s to 0.8s to 0.7s and to be on the pace is way beyond what I expected."

Breen's team-mate Kris Meeke praised his fellow Emerald Islander, saying: "He's done a bloody good job here.

"When I first came here, I was fighting with Henning [Solberg] and that's where he's been.

"He's done well, especially his times on the second pass on the Norway stages."

Citroen team principal Yves Matton said Breen's performance bodes well for the rest of the season.

"He did a good job," said Matton.

"The average speed from the weekend is at the level I expected if he is doing a good rally.

"He was showing some very interesting splits and stage times.

"He did some small mistakes, but each driver made some small mistakes on this difficult rally.

"For his first rally in the DS 3, for me it's a good job and I am happy.

"It's really positive for the rest of the season."

The PH Sport-run team will skip the next two rounds of the World Rally Championship, so the next potential outing for Breen will be Portugal in May.

Matton added: "I'm not keeping the programme a secret.

"I will announce our next events, maybe, two at a time rather than our whole season.

"If I did that and wanted to change something, it makes it difficult.

"But, we said we wouldn't be looking to compete outside Europe, except for maybe in China."

shares
comments
Inside the million-pound Swedish stand-off

Previous article

Inside the million-pound Swedish stand-off

Next article

WRC drivers stand by threat of boycotting stages to ensure safety

WRC drivers stand by threat of boycotting stages to ensure safety
Load comments
Does Neuville have a point with his Rally1 rant? Plus

Does Neuville have a point with his Rally1 rant?

OPINION: Thierry Neuville's diatribe against the upcoming Rally1-spec machines that will usher in the World Rally Championship's new hybrid era was remarkable in an era where drivers are usually reticent to air their views in public. But are the Belgian's concerns about speed, safety and cost entirely valid?

WRC
Sep 16, 2021
How the WRC's new flying Finn reached new heights in the Greek mountains Plus

How the WRC's new flying Finn reached new heights in the Greek mountains

After Kalle Rovanpera’s historic feat at Rally Estonia, the Finn scaled new heights at the Rally of the Gods with a commanding victory. And this time Toyota’s young star demonstrated why the future is bright with his devastating speed and consistency at the Acropolis Rally

WRC
Sep 13, 2021
The WRC drivers that came of age at the Acropolis Rally Plus

The WRC drivers that came of age at the Acropolis Rally

Five drivers have won first time out at the Rally Acropolis, transcending the tough dirt and gravel Greek roads to cement a place in rallying folklore. Here are three of the first-time winners' tales

WRC
Sep 9, 2021
Understanding Suninen’s sudden WRC exit gamble Plus

Understanding Suninen’s sudden WRC exit gamble

From being considered a likely contender to drive the next-generation M-Sport Ford Puma in 2022, Teemu Suninen's abrupt exit has created plenty of questions. The Finn's bid to become his country's next World Rally Championship winner won't be furthered by being sidelined, but there may be reason behind the decision

WRC
Sep 2, 2021
Could Spa’s cameo offer the WRC a new avenue to exploit? Plus

Could Spa’s cameo offer the WRC a new avenue to exploit?

OPINION: The Ypres Rally featured a cameo from the Spa-Francorchamps circuit in its final stage, giving WRC teams the chance to experience its iconic corners in rallying machinery. It proved to be an engaging addition to the rally, and could perhaps serve as an example for other events to visit famous circuits

WRC
Aug 24, 2021
How Hyundai's home hero delivered overdue WRC success in Belgium Plus

How Hyundai's home hero delivered overdue WRC success in Belgium

With limited recent fortune and pressure starting to mount, Hyundai needed a big result at the Ypres Rally. All the key components came together in Belgium to see home hero Thierry Neuville lead a manufacturer 1-2 and kickstart its World Rally Championship challenge

WRC
Aug 16, 2021
The new car that can resurrect Ford's WRC winning pedigree Plus

The new car that can resurrect Ford's WRC winning pedigree

M-Sport has become the first to unveil its new-for-2022 hybrid World Rally Championship challenger, the Puma Rally1. Ford has upped its support in a bid for glory, but can the new machine roll back the years and return the Blue Oval to the top of the WRC tree?

WRC
Aug 12, 2021
The rookie WRC driver aiming to continue Loeb and Ogier's legacies Plus

The rookie WRC driver aiming to continue Loeb and Ogier's legacies

French drivers have dominated the World Rally Championship across the past two decades; Sebastiens Loeb and Ogier have racked up the titles in commanding fashion. With Ogier calling it a day on full-time WRC competition from next year, France will pin its long-term hopes on rookie Adrien Fourmaux, who looks to have a bright future.

WRC
Aug 7, 2021