Craig Breen made his own little piece of history when he won the Toddsleap.com Rally NI last August, the first driver to win a round of the British championship in a Super 2000 car.
But tonight Breen will set out one last time in the M-Sport Ford Fiesta as he tackles the opening round of the 2011 World championship, Rally Sweden.
Afterwards the 21-year-old from Waterford will become part of the new WRC Academy, one of 24 young drivers who will contest six rounds of the World championship in identical R2 Fiestas.
It means a switch back to two-wheel-drive but Breen, like Alistair Fisher, another Academy member who is stepping down from four-wheel-drive cars, believes it is a move in the right direction.
“It is time to move on to the next stage of my career,” he said. “I will miss the S2000 Fiesta and I intend to have one last fling in the Swedish snow but winning a place in the Academy is too good an opportunity to miss.”
He has mapped out a huge 18-event programme using a pair of R2 Fiestas. However, it doesn’t include Rally NI which clashes with a WRC Academy appearance on Rally Deutschland.
Breen is joined in the Swedish starting list tonight by Eamonn Boland who drives a Mitsubishi Lancer and by Ballyclare co-driver Chris Patterson who will be alongside Petter Solberg in one of the new 1600cc turbocharged Citroen DS3s.