MATTON: BREEN GOOD ENOUGH FOR 2017 SEAT
But Citroen boss can’t guarantee the Irishman a drive
Citroen chief Yves Matton says Craig Breen’s Rally Finland podium should be enough to guarantee him a factory seat in next year’s World Rally Championship – just not necessarily in a C3 WRC.
Breen drove to a career-best third place in Jyvaskyla, despite Rally Finland being just his third ever drive in an Abu Dhabi World Rally Team DS 3 WRC.
Matton says the result will not alter his plans or his thinking for the rest of this year or for next season.
“The programme is fixed,” Matton told MN, “this result won’t bring any more rallies for Craig or for the team. Craig has driven a very good rally, I expected him to be fast here after what he showed in Poland, but what I was also pleased with is the consistency he showed as well.
“Next year, there will be 15 seats [in factory World Rally Cars]. For next year, he can expect to be in one of those cars. He can be one of the 15. But for us, I haven’t made a decision. I think the [potential] drivers are happy to wait. By the end of the month, I want to have the list of 10 down to four or five drivers.”
On hearing Matton’s comments, Breen said: “Of course, I’m honoured and really chuffed that he said that. I just really want to stay where I am because 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.”
Breen’s team-mate and rally winner Meeke was delighted for his fellow Emerald Islander, saying: “It’s an incredible job by Craig. To be in front of a lot more experienced drivers, he deserves a lot of credit.”