CRAIG BREEN WILL MISS NEXT MONTH’S WRC ROUND IN SPAIN AFTER CITROËN CONFIRMED KRIS MEEKE, STÉPHANE LEFEBVRE AND KHALID AL-QASSIMI FOR THE MIXED SURFACE FIXTURE.
Citroën Racing team principal Yves Matton said budget restrictions meant Breen would not start RallyRACC Catalunya – Rally de España (5 – 8 October), but confirmed the Irishman would return for the final rounds in Britain and Australia.
“Obviously, Craig Breen’s fans will be disappointed that he is not competing in Spain, but I have to contend with budget restrictions that mean we can’t enter any more cars,” explained Matton.
“At the start of the season, Craig’s programme was planned over 11 rallies and we considered, in consultation with Craig, that it was preferable for him to be competing in Wales and Australia instead.”
Breen was disappointed that he his involvement in Spain will end after he’s completed the recce. He said via his Instagram account: “It’s my turn to give the others a chance. Of course I’m disappointed I won’t drive at one of my favourite events, but I am happy to be back in the car again in Wales and Australia.”
Confirmation of the line-up ended speculation about Meeke’s seat for Spain after his troubled season hit a new low when he crashed in the opening Saarbrucken street stage at ADAC Rallye Deutschland last month.
His position looked in jeopardy as Andreas Mikkelsen drove the C3 to second place on the asphalt encounter, but the Norwegian’s decision to switch to Hyundai guaranteed Meeke’s place.
“Quick on both gravel and Tarmac, Kris Meeke will hopefully be able to build on the confidence he acquired during the second leg in Germany, and aim to secure a positive result,” said Matton.
Matton congratulated Mikkelsen and co-driver Anders Jaeger on their move. “I really enjoyed working with them and it’s a good thing for the WRC that they are back in the championship full-time.
“Andreas was one of the options we considered when working on our driver line-up for 2018, but when it came to making a final decision, we decided not to pursue it,” he said.