Citroen WRC team boss Yves Matton said that after Craig Breen’s solid performance in Rally Finland, he deserves full time WRC drive next season. He also mentioned that, he cannot guarantee that he will drive for Citroen next year. Only in his third WRC start with PH-Sport, Breen achieved his career best result in Finland last weekend.
Breen has been sharing his WRC seat with Stephane Lefebvre this year, alongside Kris Meeke who has already confirmed for 2017. Although Matton praised the Irish driver, he said he was just among ten other drivers shortlisted by Citroen. He said, “I expected him to be fast after what he showed in Poland, but what I was also pleased with is the consistency he showed. Next year, there will be 15 seats [in factory World Rally Cars]. Before the start of this year there were not 15 drivers at the right level. He can be one of the 15. He can expect to be in one of those cars. But for us, I didn’t make any decision. The drivers are happy to wait. By the end of the month, I want to have the list of 10 down to four or five. There is a lot to think about and the first thing I have to decide on is the strategy for next year. When I know that then I can try to put the drivers in there.“
Commenting on this Craig Breen said he was ‘honoured and pleased’ with Matton’s words and hoped he would not have to look anywhere else for WRC drive. He said, “I just really want to stay where I am. I absolutely love where I am. I know it’s a private team this season, but I love working with the factory on the new car – everything fits me like a glove now.”
Currently only six drivers have confirmed their 2017 WRC seat. Volkswagen have opted for the unchanged team of Sebastien Ogier, Jari-Matti Latvala and Andreas Mikkelsen. Citroen already signed up Kris Meeke. Kiwi driver Hayden Paddon has extended his contract with Hyundai. Eric Camilli has a long term partnership with M-Sport. That means along with Breen and Lefebvre, M-Sport driver Mads Ostberg, Hyundai drivers Thierry Neuville, Dani Sordo and Kevin Abbring are all open to negotiation. Ott Tanak may also get a factory seat after his recent form.
Leading WRC 2 drivers Elfyn Evans, Esapekka Lappi, Pontus Tidemand and Teemu Suninen are all eyeing to enter the top tier of rallying. Juho Hanninen has been confirmed to continue with Toyota for 2017 season.
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