Rally ace Craig Breen singled out his fellow Hyundai-powered driver Gabriele Tarquini for significant praise during his visit to WTCR Race of Aragón last weekend.
A podium finisher for Hyundai Motorsport in the FIA World Rally Championship, Breen is contesting the FIA European Rally Championship for Team MRF Tyres, which is overseen by BRC Racing Team, the outfit behind Tarquini’s BRC Hyundai N LUKOIL Squadra Corse entry in the Goodyear-equipped WTCR.
“I can remember as a kid watching Gabriele with Alfa Romeo in British Touring Cars,” said Breen of the 58-year-old Italian hero. “It’s incredible that he still has the passion and dedication to continue at it to this day and I really hope I have the same energy and spirit at his age because it’s really incredible.”
Breen, who travelled to Aragón from his home in Andorra, described his fact-finding trip to the WTCR season-finaleas a good opportunity to go behind the scenes of another Hyundai Motorsport-supported programme, admitting he would be tempted to swap his Hyundai i20 R5 for the Korean make’s i30 N TCR for a try-out at some point.
“There’s a lot going on in terms of the tactics that we would not be seeing in rallying and also some interesting stuff on the set-up and also how the qualifying is approached and the racing,” said Irishman Breen, 30. “I came into rallying from a circuit background with my years in karting and I always stayed in touch with it. I’d definitely love to try [WTCR] sometime. It looks really interesting, maybe we can make it happen someday.”
Breen reckons he left MotorLand Aragón all the wiser after spending time with Tarquini and his team-mate, the 2019 King of WTCR Norbert Michelisz. “There’s a common interest between all of us in what we’re doing and the guys are obviously incredibly experienced at circuit racing,” said Breen. “Gabriele is eally incredible and Norbi is obviously the champion from last year. It’s really interesting to learn from these guys. For sure I try to take every information I can.”
While the WTCR season has reached is climax, the ERC, which like the WTCR is promoted by Eurosport Events, concludes on Rally Islas Canarias from November 26-28. Breen is a five-time winner in the series and starts the all-asphalt event fifth in the points alongside co-driver Paul Nagle.