CRAIG BREEN SEES COMPETING AT THIS WEEKEND’S RALLY ESTONIA AS A VITAL PART OF HIS PREPARATIONS FOR NESTE RALLY FINLAND (26-29 JULY).
Breen will join fellow manufacturer drivers Ott Tänak and Hayden Paddon on Estonia’s fast and flowing gravel stages as they each bid to stay rally-ready after the WRC’s seven-week summer break.
“This will be my third time here after 2011 and 2015, and although the stages seem to have changed quite a bit since then, this appearance looks like it will be excellent preparation for Finland,” the Citroën driver explained.
“The stages here are extremely fast, quicker than Finland in places, in fact. They will help me get used to driving at high speeds again and be on the pace from the word go at the end of July.”
Taking part in a two-day, competitive national championship event will also benefit Breen’s French team, with Rally Estonia providing greater detail than a standard pre-event test.
Team principal Pierre Budar said: “It will be useful from a technical point of view and supplement our normal pre-event test session because it will enable us to use a greater variety of roads.
“Similarly, when you drive in proper racing conditions, with pace notes, you acquire other information than you do in testing, where the driver tends to learn the roads by heart very quickly.”
Joining Breen, Tänak and Paddon on this weekend’s entry list are WRC 2 driver Jari Huttunen, as well as Oliver Solberg – the 16-year-old son of 2003 WRC champion Petter.
Rally Estonia starts on Friday, 13 July with a ceremonial start in Tartu – in the south east of the Baltic country. The competitive action gets underway on Saturday morning with 11 stages being run on gravel roads surrounding Otepää.
Sunday’s route features five more stages, culminating with a city centre sprint through Elva. The total rally route consists of 146.04 competitive kilometres.