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Breen eyes glory in Belgium as he plots path back to World stage

 

Belgium-bound: Craig Breen
Belgium-bound: Craig Breen

By Sammy Hamill

Craig Breen already has four successive victories in this year's Irish Tarmac Championship, as well as a win in Italy, and now he is turning his attention to Belgium and one of Europe's most difficult rallies.

He has confirmed he will take part in the Ypres Rally as he continues his fight to find a way back to the World Championship after losing his place in the Citroen team at the end of 2018.

And after winning the first four rounds of the Irish series in a Ford Fiesta, plus taking victory in the Sanremo Rally in a Skoda Fabia, Breen will switch to an R5 Volkswagen Polo for the big Belgian event at the end of June, joining the team of former Ypres winner Bernard Munster.

It is all about keeping busy; keeping his name in the frame.

"I've made no secret of my ambition to return to the World Championship and that's why I consciously look for strong rallies to contest," he said. "Ypres Rally is not only one of the most beautiful but also the strongest of the asphalt rallies in Europe."

Breen has won in Belgium before, the 2016 Condroz Rally, and has been on the podium in Ypres, although he hasn't been able to emulate his former team-mate Kris Meeke who won in 2009.

The Belgian event comes less than a week after the Donegal International, where Breen is expected to be back on board his R5 Fiesta seeking his fifth straight Irish Tarmac win.

However, it looks like he will face stiff competition as the entry list is expected to contain a strong field of WRC cars which have largely been absent from earlier rounds of the series.

Sunday's Cavan Rally gives an indication of the way some drivers are leaning with Donegal in mind. Desi Henry will switch from the R5 Skoda to a WRC Ford Fiesta and Cathan McCourt, after back-to-back Irish Forest Championship wins in his R5 Fiesta, is entered in a WRC Subaru.

Garry Jennings is also in a WRC Subaru and Sam Moffett is entered in the family WRC Fiesta, while Joe McGonigle is also in a WRC Fiesta for the first time.

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