Craig Breen will compete in the new-look European Rally Championship this season following news he has secured a factory seat with Peugeot.
Breen, who won the 2012 SWRC crown last season, following hot-on-the-heels of his title success in the WRC Academy in 2011, will do eight events using the new R5 208. He is due to start his campaign next month in Latvia, before also doing the events in Portugal, Corsica, Belgium, San Marino, Poland, Sanremo and Switzerland.
“This is incredible and beyond my dreams,” Breen said. “I am really excited to work with a manufacturer like Peugeot. It is a good position to be in.
“My objective is to show good speed and challenge for some victories on a regular basis. For the testing programme, I will give the best I can to support the development of the 208 Type R5.”
Breen will compete as one of three drivers' in the new 'Peugeot Rally Academy', along with Jeremi Ancian and Stephane Lefebvre, who finished first and second respectively last year in the 'Volant 207' series in France. Ancian will do six ERC events in a 207 S2000, while Lefebvre will do four ERC events in a 208 R2. All three cars will be run by Sainteloc and will compete in the colours of Peugeot Sport, Total, Michelin and Sparco.
Bruno Famin, Peugeot Sport team principal, commented: "With the Peugeot Rally Academy, we are taking another step forward in terms of the support we provide to the winners of our promotional formulas.
"I am confident that Craig will confirm all the good things that have been said about him and I can't wait to see how our winners will fare alongside him. There is no pressure on them to achieve results.
"It's all about accumulating experience for these young drivers; we're not fighting for the championship."