Breen leaves M-Sport, set for Hyundai return

Craig Breen's two-year deal to M-Sport ends after just one season. A return to Hyundai looms


Craig Breen’s departure from M-Sport Ford has been confirmed – he will return to Hyundai Motorsport for next season.

Breen’s first full World Rally Championship campaign hasn’t been the dream drive he was hoping for. A podium in Monte Carlo was a great start to the new partnership, but five crashes from the last seven starts in a Ford Puma Rally1 have taken their toll and played a part in the decision to end the contract a year early.

Breen’s return to Hyundai – where he joins Thierry Neuville, Esapekka Lappi and Dani Sordo – will be confirmed in the coming days.


Breen admitted he was sad to turn his back on M-Sport. He said: “I want to extend a big thank you to M-Sport and the whole team for everything they’ve done for me this year.

“It has been an important season as my first full-time drive and to complete that in a Puma has been fantastic.

“There have been a lot of fun times and laughs together on this, albeit short, journey. M-Sport has a real family feel and it will be sad to leave that behind.

“It has been a great experience for me to be part of the team, but ultimately, it’s time to move on. I’m looking forward to the future and continuing to build my partnership with James [Fulton, new co-driver replacing Paul Nagle].

“I wish the team all the best for next season.”

M-Sport team principal Richard Millener and managing director Malcolm Wilson offered further insight into why the two-year agreement hadn’t worked out.

“It’s been a pleasure working with Craig, and I was personally very happy to get him and Paul [Nagle] in the team this year after a lot of hard work making it happen,” said Millener.

“I think we all knew the potential that was there, and I’ll always remember a lot of highs from the year – not least the double podium he secured for the team alongside Sébastien Loeb at the start of the year. Unfortunately, sometimes things just don’t quite click, and this is the reality of the situation we face.


“Craig is a very talented driver and I have no doubt that he has more yet to achieve in his career, but the team feel we need a new approach for 2023. We wish Craig and James the very best of luck for the future, and we now turn our attentions towards next season and securing a competitive line-up for the Puma Hybrid Rally1.”

Wilson said the lack of consistency in terms of podiums and points was the driving factor in the change of policy for next season.

“I want to thank Craig for his year with the team,” said Wilson. “He delivered some solid results throughout the season with two podiums and stage-winning performances on a variety of surfaces, but unfortunately the consistency wasn’t there to lead the team into 2023.

“I want nothing but success for those who have progressed through our ‘ladder of opportunity’, and Craig has been a perfect example of that. After making his WRC debut in the Fiesta Sporting Trophy he went on to secure both the FIA WRC Academy and S2000 championship crown before making his world rally car debut – all behind the wheel of a Fiesta.

“I am proud of the role M-Sport have had in making him the driver he is today, and we had hoped to see him secure his first WRC victory with a Ford too. Sadly, that wasn’t to be, but I wish him every success and all the very best for the future.”

Words:David Evans