Craig Breen has described his two-year World Rally Championship deal with the M-Sport Ford team as a “golden ticket” to fight for the drivers’ and manufacturers’ titles.

The multi-year agreement will see Breen and team-mate Paul Nagle lead the line for the British squad as the series enters a new hybrid-era, starting at Rallye Monte Carlo in January.

He will spend more time familiarising himself with the Puma Rally1 car in the days that follow next weekend’s Rally Spain, with this taking place on both Tarmac and gravel.

Based on the Puma SUV road car, it marries a 1.6-litre turbocharged petrol engine with a 100kW e-motor that draws its power from a battery stored in the boot. Combined, the two develop over 400bhp.

“I am so happy and proud to be joining the M-Sport Ford World Rally Team with Paul by my side,” said Breen, who leaves former employer Hyundai Motorsport on a high note having taken three podiums in his last three outings with them.

“To have my name etched in the history books beside these greats is a huge privilege”

Craig Breen

“It has been a long road for us in the World Rally Championship with many twists and turns but we have now been given a golden ticket to drive for the most prestigious marque in motorsport and fight for the World Rally Championship. 

“I love rallying, every nuance of the sport, but especially the history. To add my name to the list of drivers that have driven for Ford is a bit surreal, drivers like Ari Vatanen, Hannu Mikkola, Colin McRae and Carlos Sainz. To have my name etched in the history books besides these greats is a huge privilege.

The Irishman has close ties to M-Sport, with their cars carrying him to the World Rally Championship Academy title in 2011 and the Super 2000 World Rally Championship 12 months later.

Breen has also enjoyed success using various versions of their cars in the one-make UK and Irish Fiesta Championships, the British Rally Championship and the Irish Tarmac Rally Championship.

“I love rallying, every nuance of the sport, but especially the history. To add my name to the list of drivers that have driven for Ford is a bit surreal, drivers like Ari Vatanen, Hannu Mikkola, Colin McRae and Carlos Sainz. To have my name etched in the history books besides these greats is a huge privilege. 

“Being a very proud Irish man, to drive for Ford is something even more special to me as Henry Ford’s father was born in Ireland before emigrating to America. The love and passion for the brand in Ireland is still huge to this day,” he added.
 
“I am humbled by the faith that Malcolm [Wilson], Rich [Millener] and everyone in the M-Sport team has shown in us. Now I really can’t wait to get to Casino Square, Monte Carlo for the opening round of the championship and do the blue oval proud!”

Breen paid tribute to Hyundai Motorsport boss Andrea Adamo for handing him “a lifeline, a platform on which to perform” back in 2019, and insisted they “part on the best of terms”.

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