Craig Breen is on the verge of a second World Rally Championship title in two years as he heads to Spain this weekend for the Rally de Espana, the final round of the FIA World Rally Championship.
Breen leads the Super 2000 category of the World Rally Championship by two points from Sweden’s PG Andersson going into the final race.
The Motorsport Ireland Driver of the Year won the FIA World Rally Academy title on the last event of last year after a flawless drive at Rally Great Britain saw him take the honours.
The Waterford driver knows that if he finishes ahead of Andersson in Spain he will be the champion, winning successive World Rally titles.
Breen, who lost his Welsh co-driver Gareth Roberts following a fatal accident at a Rally in Sicily in June, is now partnered by Killarney’s Paul Nagle in their Ford Fiesta S2000.
The 22-year-old has had an up and down season picking up three victories from six events so far.
Breen opened the season in impressive style, winning the Monte Carlo Rally and following this up with a second place finish in Rally Sweden. From there the WRC moved on to Portugal, a rally where Breen had previously excelled but difficult weather conditions saw the crew unable to finish.
After using New Zealand as his dropped event, Breen’s next outing was Rally Finland, where he led until the final day where he crashed out.
It left Breen knowing he would need big results at Rally GB and Rally France to get back in contention and that he did, winning both events to put himself top of the standings going into this weekend’s final event in Spain.
He said: "Our two recent wins have transformed our season. I found Wales Rally GB very difficult but that win gave me great confidence. It's a little different this year going into the final event, twelve months ago I had a mountain to climb but this year I'm leading so the tables have turned.
“The one constant is my preparation; I've been training very hard since my last event and there will be no stone unturned in the quest for world title number two," Breen said.
Rally de Espana begins on Friday with three stages followed by three more in the afternoon. There will be six more stages on Saturday with the rally finishing with a final six stages on Sunday.