Breen to contest inaugural Belgian WRC event for Hyundai

Craig Breen will rejoin Hyundai for the World Rally Championship’s first visit to Belgium in November.

Breen will team up with Hyundai regulars Thierry Neuville and Ott Tanak for the Ypres Rally, marking his third WRC appearance of 2020 following previous outings in Sweden and Estonia, although a planned Rally Finland foray came to naught after the event was called off due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Irish driver finished seventh in Sweden, before recording a second-place finish behind teammate Tanak in Estonia, equalling his career-best result.

The 30-year-old already has experience of the Ypres Rally, having won last year’s non-championship event at the wheel of a Volkswagen Polo R5 car.

But to further ramp up his preparation, he will also contest the Aarova Rally Oudenaarde and the South Belgian Rally, both scheduled in Belgium in October.

“I am delighted to get the call up for Ypres Rally Belgium with Hyundai Motorsport,” Breen said. “I really enjoyed last year’s event, when I got a victory, myself and Paul, when it was held in the summertime in conditions that I imagine are very different to what we’ll see in November. 

“I am looking forward to my first tarmac rally with the team and in the Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC, in addition to the Aarova and South Belgian rallies that we will do in October in Belgium.

“It will give us valuable seat time and an opportunity to understand the conditions we are likely to face at Ypres. I hope we’ll be able to repeat the sort of performance and result that we had in Estonia, which will be important for the manufacturers’ championship.”

Hyundai has rotated its third seat between Breen, Dani Sordo and rally legend Sebastien Loeb this year, with each driver being handed two outings so far.

Sordo’s second WRC appearance of the year is scheduled in this month’s Rally Italy, which will mark the penultimate round of the coronavirus-disrupted 2020 season.

“Craig and Paul showed in Estonia what they can achieve when they have the correct tools to do the job,” Hyundai team boss Andrea Adamo. 

“They both demonstrated their strength in Ypres last year – winning in a rival R5 car – so they bring invaluable experience and knowledge of this event to our team. 

“The championship has closed up as a result of our 1-2 in Estonia, so we have to continue to field our strongest line-up in each of the few final rounds. I believe Craig and Paul are the best crew to join Thierry/Nicolas and Ott/Martin in Ypres to help us finish the year as strongly as we can. 

“They will have important seat time in the two local tarmac events, the Aarova and South Belgian rallies, to add to their experience of the event, the car and our team.”

The Ypres Rally, which features a stage at the iconic Spa-Francorchamps circuit, will host the final round of the 2020 season on November 19-22.

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