WRC refugee Craig Breen could do more Irish rallies in 2019

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World Rally Championship refugee Craig Breen says he could compete in more events in Ireland and Europe, following his Galway International Rally victory.

The 29-year-old lost out in a reshuffle at the Citroen World Rally Team for the 2019 season.

Citroen opted for six-time WRC champion Sebastien Ogier – who won the 2019 season-opening Monte Carlo Rally – and lured ’16 WRC 2 champion Esapekka Lappi from Toyota to its squad.

Breen then took on the opening round of the Irish Tarmac Rally Championship, and said he could continue in the series while he searches for a seat in the WRC.

“There’s a chance to do more this year [in Irish Tarmac Championship], or even to start the national championship or to do some other rallies across Europe,” said Breen, who misses this weekend’s Rally Sweden where he took his best WRC result of second last year.

“I’m fortunate in that I have the chance to do a few of these rallies and I’m going to make the most of it.”

Breen last competed in the ITRC in 2016 when he won the Circuit of Ireland for the second time.

His return in Galway had competition, with Subaru Impreza S12B WRC driver Garry Jennings and Alastair Fisher – nephew of the legendary Bertie Fisher – both leading early on in typically muddy and wet conditions on the west coast of Ireland.

But Fiesta R5 driver Breen soon established himself in the lead on stage five of nine, taking his first rally win since rekindling his relationship with ex-Kris Meeke co-driver Paul Nagle.

His previous co-driver Scott Martin now navigates for Elfyn Evans.

Breen eventually finished the rally 14.4s ahead of fellow Fiesta R5 driver Fisher, and by 33.7 seconds ahead of reigning series champion Josh Moffett.

“It’s so nice to be back where it all started and back among the familiar faces again,” Breen added.

“The people around here, there’s no bullshit, you can just go on away and enjoy it.

“I enjoyed everything and it was nice to get a win. “The conditions were tricky but I had a lot of fun.

“The competition here is serious, it’s not to be messed around with.

“These are special roads and they require a special approach which these guys have well sussed, so they are definitely on top of their game.”

The next round of the Irish Tarmac Rally Championship is the West Cork Rally on March 16/17, where ex-Ford and Citroen factory driver Mikko Hirvonen will drive a modified Ford Escort Mk2.

It is also the second round of the British Rally Championship, which gets underway with the Cambrian Rally this weekend on February 16.

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