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Monday, February 26, 2024

Breen places “essential” WRC podium return all the way down to new method

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The M-Sport driver revealed he had turn out to be “barely misplaced” in earlier rounds in Portugal and Croatia having tried to chase “one thing that most likely didn’t want chasing” behind the wheel of his Ford Puma.

A extra relaxed Breen mirrored on the timing sheets in Italy because the Irishman completed second on the robust gravel roads to assert his first podium since January’s Monte Carlo opener, equalling his profession finest WRC outcome within the course of.

Breen emerged within the victory hunt after climbing to fourth on Friday earlier than leaping forward of team-mate Pierre-Louis Loubet to maneuver into the rostrum positions on Saturday morning. 

The retirement of early chief Esapekka Lappi elevated Breen to second. The 32-year-old then subsequently fended off Hyundai’s Dani Sordo to complete 1m03.2s behind eventual winner Ott Tanak (Hyundai) on Sunday.

The outcome lifted Breen from sixth to fourth within the standings, however stays 68 factors adrift of championship chief Kalle Rovanpera.  

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“I really feel good, however drained. It has been a protracted weekend, however I really feel extra relaxed,” mentioned Breen. 

“Come what might from the weekend I simply felt higher in myself. I felt higher in my driving. I loved it extra and I’d say I acquired barely misplaced within the final couple of rallies, as I used to be chasing one thing that I most likely didn’t should be chasing. 

“I simply tried to resort to letting the automotive do the work and I loved the weekend and for positive the velocity was loads higher.    

“I used to be actually proud of the tempo of the automotive and truthfully it was the primary time I felt actually assured on these kind of roads, and I believe our tempo was actually fairly sturdy.

“For positive, I believe there was a margin the place I might push much more however it was essential to get a podium like this and get issues again on monitor.”

Craig Breen, Paul Nagle, M-Sport Ford World Rally Workforce Ford Puma Rally1

Photograph by: M-Sport

Breen was one in all two M-Sport Ford Pumas to complete within the high 5 as team-mate Loubet got here residence in fourth to attain his profession finest outcome within the WRC.

The Frenchman had run as excessive as third earlier than a puncture value him time on Saturday morning. Nevertheless the outcome, in solely his third look of the season, surpassed his earlier better of seventh, achieved in 2021 and 2020.  

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