Craig Breen: Hope to come back to Latvia next year

What has SWRC title gave you? Any privileges?

It was a big achievement for me because last year was very difficult for me and personally this was a big achievement. It was my dream to win this championship. It is given me the opportunity to move on, I was recognized by the Peugeot after winning this championship and some other events last year so it really opened a lot of doors to me.

Which title was more difficult and interesting to get - FIA Juniors or SWRC?

They both are completely different. SWRC was more about finishing, being clever and intelligent, finishing each event. In Academy it was completely different - we were fighting on last event, we had to drive completely flat-out the whole rally to win this championship. It was very exciting. These championships are completely different and winning there is what I’m proud of.

Craig Breen/ Dave Moynihan, No.2 on entries list for Rally Liepāja-Ventspils. Photo: Peugeot Sports

Isn’t ERC a step back after winning SWRC title?

No, because now I’m working with a manufacturer, so it’s very big step forward for me. Whatever manufacturer wants me to do, it’s big step forward for me. I’m really very happy where I am.

Do you feel “wise and old” comparing to your teammates in Peugeot as they are very young drivers?

Well, I think, one of them is older than me, though. I’m only rallying since 2009 so I’m not completely veteran or classic rally driver, I’m also learning. Yes, Junior Academy was brilliant place for me to learn and it’s nice to have two teammates to follow me this season so I’m really exciting about this opportunity.

How big is your winter rally experience on the gravel?

I’ve driven Rally of Sweden two times, 2011 and last year, we had really good results. I really like winter rallies and I go to Norway for winter rally normally every year so I’m familiar with driving on winter rallies.

Have you heard about Latvia and rallying here before?

If I have to be honest - no. I don’t know much about Latvia, I know very little about stages there. I think this Kurzeme rally, I’ve seen it before, watch some onboard cameras to understand what the stages are like. I have little knowledge about Latvian rally but I make lot investigation into what the rally is about. Should be ok.

Have you sent a spies?

(Laughing) No, not yet.

What will be your main goal for “Rally Liepāja-Ventspils”?

To gain experience of the rally because we hope to come back on 2014 and I hope this rally will be in championship into year 2014 so we will be fighting for a victory. This season is about showing good speed. You know, for me it is big step and big learning curve. There is no big pressure on us to get big results, we just need to do best job we can possible, be very focused, committed, big passion, whatever result will be, everybody involved will be happy.

Craig Breen hopes to return to Latvia next year. Photo: Peugeot Sports.

Biggest concern about Latvian event?

Don’t know any concerns, I’m really excited about this big opportunity given to me.

Did you follow first ERC event in Austria?

That was a very beautiful rally, weather was changing a lot, sometimes snow, sometimes wet tarmac. It was interesting fight between Jan [Kopecky] and Bryan [Bouffier], I watched it all on TV - TV coverage was really good, Eurosport did very good job. I sat at home, watched it and was waiting for Latvia rally! It was very exciting to think that I’ll be driving in the next round of this championship.

You have eight ERC events in your calendar - do you think about fighting for a title, taking in account scoring system in ERC?

For a moment I’m just thinking about each event, I want to be as professional and put as much effort and preparation to every event as I can, and if we come to the last rally and we can fight for a championship, I would be very happy. For me I want to just do the best job I can possibly and bring good results.

Irishman in a French team - how do you feel there?

Not so good for my own country (laughing). No, I’m really excited. I don’t know my teammates so well but I’m looking forward to work with them. It will be really nice to work with everybody there as I have seen this team in French championship and IRC.

 - Līga Stirna