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Breen buoyed by Hyundai recall for Rally Finland

Craig Breen

Craig Breen has been recalled to the Hyundai team for Rally Finland - if it goes ahead.

Scheduled for August 6-9, it is hoped to be the event which sees the World Championship resume after it was suspended following the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic.

No WRC rallies have taken place since Mexico in mid-March but Hyundai are optimistic the series will re-start with a revised schedule beginning in Finland and have announced a three-car team which includes Breen and co-driver Paul Nagle.

The reigning Irish Tarmac champion, who also drove for Hyundai in Sweden at the start of the year, will join World champion Ott Tanak and Thierry Neuville.

Breen finished on the podium behind winner Kris Meeke for Citroen in Finland in 2016 and made a strong debut for Hyundai at the event last season.

“I love Finland — everybody loves Finland — and wouldn’t it just be the best place to re-start the season,” said Breen. “All I’m focused on right now is doing everything I can to deliver the best possible job for Hyundai Motorsport in August.

“We are all anticipating the safe running of the rally but whatever happens with coronavirus, I can’t do anything about. What I can do is make sure I’m just as sharp, focused and ready as I’ve ever been — that’s what I’m working on.”

The organisers are waiting for clearance from the Finnish government and the WRC promoters to continue preparations. There have been fewer than 7000 confirmed cases of the virus in Finland, with just over 300 deaths.

There has been speculation that Finland could move back into September to occupy Rally New Zealand’s date if the Auckland event elects to postpone its WRC return by a year in the same way Safari Rally Kenya has done.

Rallying presents specific difficulties in relation to social distancing and Motorsport UK have ruled that any return here in the immediate future will be restricted to time trial-type events with only the driver — no co-drivers — taking part.

All major events in the UK and Ireland are currently suspended but the British Championship organisers are still hoping the series can go ahead later in the year. The FIA and the World Championship promoters have not made clear their positions.

Belfast Telegraph