Malcolm Wilson is confident Craig Breen can challenge for the World Rally Championship title next season in M-Sport’s Ford Puma Hybrid Rally1.
Wilson told DirtFish that Breen’s consistency and speed will be enough to carry him into a fight which – according to the M-Sport managing director – should be more open in the absence of Sébastien Ogier.
“If Craig can maintain the consistency and reliability he’s been putting down for the last couple of years, if he keeps on pumping in those solid results and we give him a reliable package then he has to be right up there,” said Wilson.
“Like I mentioned before, I do think Séb leaving will open things up and I don’t see any reason why we can’t be there with Craig.”
Wilson emphasized that Breen’s focus will be on the WRC, without any distractions like driving smaller events in the Fiesta Rally2.
“This year things were different for Craig,” said Wilson.
“He wasn’t doing a full WRC program, so I can see why he was doing some European Rally Championship rounds.
“But next year his full focus will on the WRC.
“We’ll be giving him everything we possibly can. It’ll be like 2017 again, we’ll start with brand new cars and everything will be completely fresh and ready to go.
“In terms of pushing for the championship, he has good experience.
“OK, there are some events where he doesn’t have huge experience, I hope Monte [Carlo Rally], for example, is a nice plain, dry and straightforward one. That would make for an easier start, but if it’s a complicated wet-dry-icy-snowy one then that takes a lot of experience and it’ll rank as one of the most difficult rounds for him.”
Despite that lack of experience, Wilson has every confidence in his latest signing.
“He’s ready for this,” he said. “I’ve no doubt about that.”