The M-Sport driver produced a measured drive to third at last weekend’s WRC season opener to kick off his 2022 marketing campaign with a tidy haul of factors.
Competing in his first occasion as a full-time WRC driver for the Ford squad, the Irishman delivered a intelligent drive throughout the 4 days, electing to not be drawn into full assault mode on a regular basis to make sure he introduced the brand new Puma residence 1m39s behind winner Loeb.
A cautious Breen had been sitting sixth heading into Saturday, however rose to 3rd after Toyota’s Elfyn Evans crashed out on stage 11 and the Hyundai duo of Ott Tanak snd Thierry Neuville additionally suffered a crash in stage 11 and a damaged entrance damper respectively.
“It’s been a very good weekend,” mentioned Breen. “It nonetheless feels a bit surreal to be sitting right here sharing a podium with these guys [Loeb and Ogier],
“I hope it’ll not occur once more,” he joked. “In the event that they’d not been there I might have received the rally. It’s actually superb, we share 17 world titles between the three of us.
“I knew earlier than the beginning it might be a tough one for me,” he added.
“I’ve not achieved the occasion for 4 or 5 years and this in solely my fourth time right here.
“To return away from right here with a podium on essentially the most tough rally of the 12 months, I’m delighted.
“That is primarily due to the group – they’ve achieved an incredible job, given us all of the instruments to carry out. Myself and [co-driver] Paul [Nagle] have discovered with each kilometre.”
Craig Breen, Paul Nagle, M-Sport Ford World Rally Staff Ford Puma Rally1
Photograph by: Pink Bull Content material Pool
Breen gushed in regards to the potential of his Puma on a number of events within the rally however was focussed on avoiding any unforced errors as he tailored to the brand new hybrid automobiles.
He additionally felt a crash throughout the pre-event take a look at that robbed him of seat time performed a job in his efficiency.
“I most likely tailored fairly slowly, however that’s my nature,” he added.
“I don’t have a tendency to stay my neck out. I take child steps till I get there, by the tip of the weekend I used to be way more assured.
“In all probability not having the complete take a look at day, I made some set-up errors and it was solely on Saturday morning that these have been rectified. Then I might develop into the automotive and it labored out completely ultimately.”
Discounting part-time drivers Loeb and Ogier, Breen sits successfully second within the championship behind Kalle Rovanpera, who completed fourth and received the rally ending Energy Stage, heading into subsequent month’s spherical in Sweden.