Belfast Telegraph

Breen will take detour to Isle of Man before his Corsica mission

By Sammy Hamill

Craig Breen is a surprise inclusion in the line-up for the Rally Isle of Man on September 15-17, the final round of this year's British Championship.

He will drive the same R5 Citroen DS3, run by the Carryduff-based DGM team, in which he won the Circuit of Ireland earlier in the year and it will be a prelude to joining Kris Meeke in the Citroen team for the World Championship Tour de Corse next month.

It was thought Citroen had originally intended to field Stephane Lefebrve alongside Meeke for the Corsican event but the young Frenchman and his co-driver Gabin Moreau were injured in a heavy accident during Rally Germany and there are no clear signs when they will be fit to compete again.

Breen has not competed since finishing third behind Meeke on the gravel-based Rally Finland and, anxious to press his claims for a place in the Citroen team for 2017, he is determined to make the most of the Corsican chance, his first on tarmac in a factory-backed WRC car.

"The primary reason for going to the Isle of Man is to get myself back to driving on tarmac," said the 27-year-old Waterford driver.

"It has been a while since the Circuit of Ireland in April and when you have the opportunity to step up to the World Championship you have to make the most of it. Doing the Manx will give me seat time in a great car on proper tarmac stages."

Breen will join an Isle of Man line-up which is headed by new British champion Elfyn Evans and also includes multi-Manx winner Mark Higgins.

A triple British champion but almost as famous now as a stunt driver in James Bond films, Higgins joins Evans in the DMACK team and will drive an R5 Ford Fiesta.

His rallying in recent times has been limited mainly to Chinese events but he jumped at the opportunity to return to the island where he was born and where he recently set a new car lap record for the TT course.

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