After becoming the first Irish driver to win a place on the FIA's Pirelli Star Driver scheme, Craig Breen relates how important his success in Spain was.
Q. How stressful was that?
Craig Breen: It was probably the most stressful moment of my whole life. To the point that it was a massive strain for the whole weekend. But hard work has paid off now. It's time to take the next step. This is a massive opportunity for me and I'm just thrilled and in awe of what's going to happen next year.
Q. How much do you know about the program?
CB: It's in the WRC Acamdeny, with six rounds of the World Rally Chamnpionship in a Fiesta R2 and the training from [Robert Reid's training company] ESP that goes along with it. That's pretty much the outline. But for me, it's driving in the WRC, that's what I want. We're going to be on the world championship stage and in front of the right people, doing the right events. It's a great opportunity.
Q. It's been an odd week for you, though: you came here off the back of the British Rally Championship Pirelli Star Driver shootout, which you lost to Elfyn Evans, but then won the big one here in Spain...
CB: This was the one we wanted. The British one would have been very good, but we've spent a year in the BRC and got as much as we could get out of it. We didn't win it [the BRC], but we were always on the pace. There was a bit of bad luck on our side. But this is what I wanted. We're in the right car, with the right team. I'm relishing the chance to get behind the wheel next year.
Q. Will you supplement the program with anything else?
CB: Absolutely, that would be the plan. We're going to do some events in our own car. We're going to concentrate on the specialist surfaces: maybe a snow rally and some others. We're going to Rally GB in a couple of weeks and then we'll line up a program for next year; we can't let this be the defining championship next year, so we'll have to do something outside – maybe some rounds of the Super 2000 World Rally Championship.
Q. You'll stick with your own Fiesta S2000 ,then?
CB: Yes, absolutely. It'll be great to have the six WRC rounds with the FIA's Pirelli Star Driver R2 and then some more with out own Fiesta, it's great from a Ford perspective. The cars are fantastic at the moment. There's a couple of new developments coming over the winter, so why stray away from it?