Craig Breen closed a difficult personal season on a high by claiming victory on the closing round of the FIA Super 2000 World Rally Championship, and securing the class title, on the Rally de Espana.
The Irishman, who lost friend and co-driver Gareth Roberts in an accident earlier in the year, secured the championship laurels just twelve months after being crowned FIA WRC Academy Cup champion, bringing further success to M-Sport's range of Ford Fiesta rally machines.
Keeping two-time J-WRC champion P-G Andersson at bay throughout the season, Breen produced a stunning comeback following a final stage crash that took him out of the lead on Rally Finland, and victory on the final three rounds of the S-WRC produced the perfect culmination to his campaign.
The 22-year old took a commanding lead through the gravel stages of day one in Spain, holding an overnight advantage of almost four minutes before transforming his Fiesta S2000 to asphalt trim, with which it proved just as efficient on the final two days.
Despite adopting a conservative approach over the rally's final phase, Breen was able to keep his rival at bay, covering every attack from Andersson whilst preserving his car to take a poignant and historic victory.
“This is such an incredible feeling,” the youngster admitted, “To go from [FIA] WRC Academy champion to S-WRC champion in the space of a year is fairly text book, I think.
“A few months ago, my life was turned on its head for all the wrong reasons. I never thought I would be able to get back to where we had been. But Gareth and I both had a big dream together and, with the help and support of everybody, I decided to push on and secure that dream for the two of us.
“Now here we are and I am sure he's here with me. It is a big day for me and I am just over the moon.”