A rejuvenated Craig Breen takes on SWRC France next weekend with new confidence following his victory in the Wales Rally GB three weeks ago.
The current FIA WRC Academy Champion is back in the Super 2000 World Rally Championship title fight and said: "Rally GB has given me a huge amount of confidence and our win has put us right back in the championship battle."
Breen's win lifted him to joint second in the overall standings, level with Hayden Paddon and just eight points off class leader P-G Andersson ahead of the penultimate round of the season.
P-G Andersson (Sweden) tops the table with 76 points, while iIn joint second place Breen and Hayden Paddon (New Zealand) are both on 69.
Preparing for next week’s Strasbourg based event, Breen said: “Our win in Wales was the only result that would have given us any hope going into the final two rounds and with P-G and Hayden failing to score significant points, it’s all to play for in France."
Based on the outskirts of Strasbourg, Rallye de France sees the championship return to tarmac for round seven of the SWRC season.
In total the rally will consist of 22 stages over a competitive distance of 404.14 kilometres, an increase of 20 per cent compared to 2011.
Talking about his chances, Breen said: “We’re back on tarmac but it’s a tough rally. The nature of the stages allow for a lot of dirt to be dragged out making conditions difficult and of course the weather will play a factor.
“I competed on the event last year in the (WRC) Academy and having that experience will be an advantage. We also have last year’s (pace) notes but they will need to be adjusted to the speed of the S2000 car. I did win on the Monte but P-G was very unlucky.
“It’s Hayden’s first tarmac event of the season but he’s a great driver and I expect him to be quick. I can only drive my own rally and for sure will be giving my all for the win.”