Belfast Telegraph

Breen back from World adventure to take on Ulster Rally challenge

 

Ulster outing: Craig Breen
Ulster outing: Craig Breen

By Sammy Hamill

From the World Championship to Ireland's Tarmac Championship, from the gravel tracks of Finland to the rural roads of Co Down, it will be back to basics next week for Craig Breen.

Having made a strong impression on his return to the WRC series as a stand-in driver for the title-chasing Hyundai team, Breen confirmed after the finish in Finland that he will be in the line-up for the Today's Ulster Rally based in Newry tomorrow week.

Dropped by Citroen at the end of last season, he has been determined to regain his place in the World Championship and has kept himself busy by competing, and winning, in Italy, Belgium and at home in Ireland.

Then he made the most of a one-off opportunity to join Hyundai in Finland where he ran consistently in the top six before sacrificing his position to allow team-mate Thierry Neuville to increase his points in the drivers' title race.

Now it is being speculated that Breen will be offered more appearances with Hyundai this season at Rally GB in Wales and possibly Turkey, and has put himself in prime position for a recall to the WRC in 2020 with the Korean team or even Toyota.

But next week he is on home ground for round six of the Tarmac Championship, defending his lead at the top of the standings in the Ulster Rally.

Breen won the first four rounds of the series in R5 Ford Fiestas but is expected to switch to a Hyundai i20 run by Philip Case's PCRS team in Donegal.

The rally is also a round of the British Championship and will see the return of champion Matt Edwards, who won in Ulster last year.

Meanwhile, the Northern Ireland Hillclimb Championship resumes tomorrow with the Mid Antrim Club's Garron Point event.

Richard McGimpsey leads the points table with 62 points, 11 more than Graham Thompson who is the hill record holder.

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