In many ways, 2022 has been the year Craig Breen has been waiting for all along as the Waterford native gets the chance to tackle a full World Rally Championship campaign for the first time.

Breen and co-driver Paul Nagle joined M-Sport Ford on a two-year deal ahead of the upcoming season as the sport transitions into the new hybrid era.

Breen and Nagle do not have long to wait to get started with the Monte Carlo Rally first up on the week of 20 January.

Speaking to RTÉ Sport as the season opener closes in, Breen was relishing the chance to test himself after an encouraging 2021 when he claimed three podium finishes and said he is aiming as high as possible.

"We wouldn't have put pen to paper and put our trust in the programme if we didn't think it was capable of winning the world championship," he said.

"I think it's all I've been searching for all my life and I daresay it's all that Paul has been searching for as well is to try and be a world champion. We do believe that the tools are there."

Nagle echoed Breen's view that the components are there to give them a chance of challenging for the championship across the 13 rounds that will run until next November.

"As Craig said, we do have the tools and we have the support of a huge team behind us with Ford and we've to knuckle down, put the head down and believe we can win rallies and have the two of us on the top step of a world championship rally next year would be something very, very special and has never been done," said the Killarney native.