Ireland’s Craig Breen has been confirmed as a Citroen Racing driver for the next two seasons of the FIA World Rally Championship.

Breen and co-driver Scott Martin join the already established Kris Meeke of Northern Ireland on the Citroen team until 2018.

A third crew of Stéphane Lefebvre and Gabin Moreau will also be competing for a drive in one of Citroen’s two cars, although Breen is considered favourite for the number two position behind Meeke.

Waterford man Breen impressed again at the weekend when finishing fifth at the Tour de Corse in France, while other success this year included a third-placed finish at Rally Finland.

"...we believe in the potential of Craig Breen and Stéphane Lefebvre. They have the natural talent, motivation and work ethic to win rallies"

The drive in France left commentator and WRC Radio’s Colin Clark in no doubt about Breen’s quality.

Clark said: “He is driving this car straight into that (Citroen) garage with a number 2 above it. He’s doing everything!

“He was battling with Latvala, he was battling with Mikkelsen.

“He was battling with the guys at the top, and what you know is those boys are pretty much as good as they’re going to be on tarmac – they were driving as well as they could – whereas with Breen you know he can only get better.”

At the start of the season the team will enter two Citroen C3 WRCs - one for Meeke and the other for either Breen or Lefebvre.

The exact distribution of events to drivers will be announced at a later stage and Citroen will start entering three cars as soon as possible.

The FIA’s World Motorsport Council recently decided it would let manufacturers enter three cars, the top two scoring points towards the Manufacturers World Championship.

Yves Matton, Citroen Racing Team Principal: “Kris Meeke was confirmed at the end of last year and has become the natural leader of the team. As well as challenging for the lead on each of his appearances in 2016, winning in Portugal and in Finland, he has also done most of the development work for our Citroen C3 WRC.

“In choosing two young crews to complete the line-up, I don’t think we can be accused of having gone for the easy option. But this original solution is very much aligned with Citroen’s mindset.

“And having seen them compete this season for the Abu Dhabi Total WRT, we believe in the potential of Craig Breen and Stéphane Lefebvre. They have the natural talent, motivation and work ethic to win rallies.”