Craig Breen had seen us coming. He’d lined this one up, and delivered it perfectly. In conspiratorial tones, he assured DirtFish the story was ours. And only ours.
Craig Breen: the future?
“Next year?” he smiled. “OK, I’ll tell you. I do have something concrete for next season…”
Here we go. It’s the big chat. The big deal.
“It’s the Metro.”
“Actually, it’s dad’s Metro. That’s going to be there all season.”
One of us laughed out loud. The other one less so.
“Seriously,” he added, “that’s all I have that’s concrete to tell you at the moment.”
He’s not wrong.
DirtFish hasn’t been sleeping through the Breen speculation which has whipped through the rallying world in recent weeks, but it’s our understanding that no agreement has been signed between Breen and his current employer Hyundai Motorsport or the M-Sport Ford World Rally Team he’s been linked with.
“The one thing I can tell you is that I want a full season next year,” Breen added.
And the one thing DirtFish can tell you is that Breen will get a full season next year. For the first time in his career, he will compete on every round of the World Rally Championship.
Having seen what he can do when he gets back-to-back outings – with second place in Estonia being backed up by a similar result on an altogether different event last time out at Ypres Rally – the prospect of a full campaign is a mouth-watering one for both Breen and his fans.
Which Rally1 car is he likely to be driving? The only thing we can say with any certainty is that it won’t be a Toyota. But, if speculation’s to be believed, it’s looking more Puma than i20 right now.
Every rally in either car would work just fine. Breen has grown in stature and confidence with Hyundai Motorsport and his last two results have demonstrated his worth to any team. Team principal Andrea Adamo has admitted to DirtFish previously that he’s ready and willing to ditch a third car rotated between two drivers – if he sees that as the strongest way forwards in the future.
Breen also has a strong history with M-Sport. He won both of his world titles (WRC Academy in 2011 and SWRC in 2012) in Fiestas designed and built by the British squad. He’s well known and very well-liked by the team at Dovenby Hall.
Is he ready to lead a team? Absolutely.
He might not have completed a full season at rallying’s highest level yet, but Breen is a driver with vast experience in the world championship. He’s started 67 WRC rounds and spent three years with the once all-conquering force that was Citroën Racing. He’s worked on the development of cars and demonstrated himself to be the perfect of team players.
Breen back to M-Sport would make for a fine story. But a full season and a title tilt is all that matters.
That and driving his dad’s 6R4. Obviously…