As usual, DirtFish delivers the latest news from an M-Sport Monday and today’s news is that lead driver Craig Breen has retired. Retired, that is, from historic rallying.
And retired from historic rallying, that is, for now.
The Irishman’s love of all things rallying is known the world over, but from now on there’s only one car for him and that’s the Ford Puma Rally1 Hybrid he’ll use to take on his maiden full-time World Rally Championship effort in 2022.
“You know how much I love driving the historic cars and how much I love that scene, but 100% of my focus has to go to the world championship,” Breen told DirtFish. “There’s absolutely no question about that and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
“To be honest, I’ve had a pretty good run recently and that’s why I’ve done a few events in the last few months, just to get it out of my system.”
Breen has driven some exceptional metal since his podium finish at Rally Finland, running a Ford Escort WRC at RallyLegend before heading home to take on Wexford in a Subaru Legacy RS and then win the coveted Killarney Historic in a BMW M3.
“Much as I love driving those cars, it’s not the ideal preparation for a Rally1 car,” said Breen.
“Before when I was driving a World Rally Car, I kept telling myself: ‘It’ll be grand, it’ll be alright…’. Honestly, the car is so different now. It’s just not a stereotypical rally car and the adaptation takes so much time – I don’t want to do anything that takes away from that.
“I have this chance and I’m going to give it absolutely everything I’ve got. It’s really no sacrifice to stop in a historic car to drive this amazing Puma!”
Breen continued his familiarization with the Puma in Finland last week, where he rounded out M-Sport’s Rally1 development test program.
“It went really well in Finland,” he said. “It was very, very useful to get a day in the snow with the Puma. I don’t know that Toyota has been in those conditions yet and I’d be fairly sure Hyundai hasn’t – and we know we found stuff out from that test that will help us when we’re back in the snow for the pre-Sweden test.
“Everything from the hybrid side went well, we had no issues with the car at all. We were able to scan through all of our options. Obviously we’ve done a lot of testing on gravel, so we had a set-up which was in the ballpark already and we’ve fine-tuned that. When we’re back up here next year, we can fine tune it again. It’s certainly given us good food for thought ahead of round two.”