Breen's WRC future looks set to become clear "within days"

Craig Breen has dropped the strongest hint yet that he will have a full-time seat in next season’s World Rally Championship.
Breen's WRC future looks set to become clear

Speculation around the Irishman’s plans for 2022 continues to grow, although the general consensus is the 31-year-old looks set to join forces with M-Sport Ford.

He has close ties to the Cumbrian squad, with their cars carrying him to the WRC Academy title in 2011 and the S2000 World Rally Championship 12 months later.

Breen has also enjoyed success using various versions of their cars in the one-make UK and Irish Fiesta Championships, the British Rally Championship and the Irish Tarmac Rally Championship.

Asked if he could provide fans with an up-date on his situation for 2022 during Rally Finland’s post event press conference, Breen said: “I guess we’re getting to it in days of knowing what the future will hold now. Exciting times, I would say.”

When probed if the deal would see him and team-mate Paul Nagle compete on all rounds of the World Rally Championship, Breen added: “Yeah, it’s looking quite positive now, I would say. Let’s say we’ll be on the start line in Monte [Carlo].”

Toyota Gazoo Racing look set to stick with Elfyn Evans and Kalle Rovanpera for 2022, with the third Yaris shared between Sebastien Ogier – who has confirmed he will wind down his involvement considerably to focus more on the Japanese manufacturer’s World Endurance programme – and another as yet unnamed driver.

In May, Thierry Neuville and Ott Tanak announced they had both inked new “multi-year deals” that keeps them at Hyundai Motorsport, while the agreement reached between the team and young Swede Oliver Solberg last December is understood to involve the 20-year-old stepping up into an i20 Rally1 car for some events next year.

Breen has been a loyal servant to Hyundai since he was welcomed into the fold by Team Principal Andrea Adamo, with the current campaign ranking as his most successful having chalked up three podium finishes from his last three starts in Estonia, Belgium and Finland.

And until recently, he led the line for the South Korea marque in the FIA European Rally Championship in a Team MRF Tyres-branded i20 R5.

In the hours that followed last weekend’s Rally Finland, Breen reiterated his desire to nail down a regular drive in the sport’s top division.

“Yeah, I think so,” said Breen in response to being asked if he felt he was in the best form of his career right now. “It took long enough – it took 30-odd years, but finally it looks like everything is starting to come together.

“Honestly, I think it’s just being in the car often, a bit of consistency to the programme and that’s sort of what we’ve been missing since myself and Paul came back, obviously after the Cirtroën years.

“It’s been very stop-start. Like last year, for example, we did just two rallies all year in the World Rally Car, whereas now we have some consistency more often than before.

“And just feeling comfortable in the surroundings, getting into the car and knowing switch which does what, and it all feels natural.

“Whereas last year I was doing so much in the R5 and then jumping back in the World car again it didn’t feel normal at all to be honest.

"The R5 felt more natural, whereas having stepped back from the R5 programme a bit more in the latter months I definitely feel much more comfortable in the World car now,” he added.

Read More