Craig Breen and Paul Nagle will complete a full World Rally Championship campaign for the first time together as they switch to M-Sport Ford in 2022. Their much rumoured two-year contract was revealed in a video by M-Sport earlier this morning.
“I am so happy and proud to be joining the M-Sport Ford World Rally Team with Paul by my side,” said Breen. “It has been a long road for us in the World Rally Championship with many twists and turns but we have now been given a golden ticket to drive for the most prestigious marque in motorsport and fight for the World Rally Championship.
“Ford has always been very close to my heart as my career started in the Ford Fiesta R2 winning the Junior World Rally Championship, before winning the S2000 World Rally Championship in a Ford Fiesta S2000. I love rallying, every nuance of the sport, but especially the history.
“To add my name to the list of drivers that have driven for Ford is a bit surreal, drivers like Ari Vatanen, Hannu Mikkola, Colin McRae and Carlos Sainz. To have my name etched in the history books besides these greats is a huge privilege.
“Being a very proud Irish man, to drive for Ford is something even more special to me as Henry Ford’s father was born in Ireland before emigrating to America. The love and passion for the brand in Ireland is still huge to this day.
“I am humbled by the faith that Malcolm, Rich and everyone in the M-Sport team has shown in us. Now I really can’t wait to get to Casino Square, Monte Carlo for the opening round of the championship and do the blue oval proud!”
M-Sport switches from its Fiesta modelled World Rally Car to a spaceframe Ford Puma Rally1 car next year. The Puma has been extensively tested in 2021 in locations around Europe mainly by Matthew Wilson.
With Breen’s move from Hyundai to M-Sport now official, it is likely the Irishman will be able to embark on his own testing programme.
“I am very confident Craig and Paul can deliver the very best results for the team,” said team principal Rich Millener. “I cannot wait to see them lining up for the start of the Monte Carlo Rally in only a few months’ time.
“Our goal now is to get both the lads comfortable in the team and give them all they need to help deliver the results with the new Puma.
“I cannot wait to get started, it is genuinely a really exciting time for not only me personally, but everyone involved in this adventure.”
Breen and Nagle made nine appearances in Hyundai’s i20 WRC in their two and a half year stint. They hold an impressive finish record, featuring four podiums in their past six events.
The 2022 World Rally Championship is set to get underway on the 20th January with Monte-Carlo’s iconic curtain-raiser.
Photos courtesy of M-Sport