Craig Breen hopes Estonia podium provides launchpad

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Rally Estonia runner-up Craig Breen hopes his first podium with Hyundai Motorsport at last weekend’s Rally Estonia could be the key to an enhanced role next season.

On his fourth start for the Korean manufacturer, the Irishman finished second behind team-mate Ott Tänak at the FIA World Rally Championship’s restart event to match his career-best result.

Breen is sharing the Alzenau squad’s third car with Dani Sordo and Sébastien Loeb this year and hopes his Estonian performance could lead to bigger things in 2021.

“When I started [Estonia], I wanted to use the event as an opportunity to put myself in the shop window, to show what I could do and to show I’m ready for next year,” he explained.

“I think it’s taken me a little bit of time just to get my confidence and now I feel I can absolutely deliver.”

Looking back on a faultless event which concluded with Breen finishing ahead of championship leader Sébastien Ogier, he said: “Everything went so well from start to finish. Maybe it surpassed my expectations slightly.

“We just got into a really good rhythm and were really at one with the car, at one with everything. We had one of those weekends where I really felt that I stepped everything up a little notch. To be fighting on the podium with the two best drivers in the world is something I’m very, very proud about.”

Breen finished seventh on his Hyundai debut in Finland last year and eighth later in the season in Britain. His only previous outing in this campaign was in Sweden, where he came home seventh, and the 30-year-old acknowledged the team’s support.

“They went out on a limb to pick me. Putting me in the car in Finland last year, it was a risk,” he added.

“And, after the accident in GB last year, putting me in the car in Sweden and continuing to put their faith in me is something I desperately wanted to repay them with and I really hope this result is just the start of scratching the surface of what we can do.”

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