Craig Breen has enjoyed a great opening day to his 2013 season as he leads after three stages of Rally Liepāja-Ventspils in Latvia.

The Peugeot Sport Academy driver remains 6.4 seconds clear of Finnish driver Jari Ketomaa in round two of the European Rally Championship.

The reigning Super 2000 world champion returned to action today for his first event of the 2013 season, kicking off his new role as Peugeot Sport factory driver by posting sixth fastest time on the qualifying stage.

"I'm so happy to have this opportunity and to lead this rally is superb.” - Breen

During the ceremonial start of the Latvian event the Irish driver nominated to run fourth on the road for the opening leg.

The first day’s action included three special stages totally 42Km. Breen began by setting the fastest time on the opening special stage, going 0.3 of a second faster than Finnish driver Jari Ketomaa and 4.5 sec ahead of Russia’s Vasily Gryazin.

On stage two, Breen continued his assault by setting the benchmark, extending his lead to three seconds and on the last stage of the day, the Irish crew rounded off a perfect start to their opening day in the Peugeot 207 S2000 by securing fastest time to complete a hat-trick of stage wins.

Breen said: “I just can't believe it. This has been a dream for me for such a long time and we have all been working for this day over the last few years. I'm so happy to have this opportunity and to lead this rally is superb.”