COFFS COAST (NSW) – Irish driver Craig Breen will replace Andreas Mikkelsen in the third Hyundai at Kennards Hire Rally Australia as the Korean team bids to win its first FIA World Rally Championship for manufacturers.
Mikkelsen, winner of Rally Australia in 2016 when he drove for Volkswagen, was initially entered for the WRC season finale on the NSW Coffs Coast on 14-17 November.
However, a revised entry list released today shows Breen alongside Thierry Neuville and Dani Sordo, all in Hyundai i20 Coupe WRCs. His lower standing in the drivers’ championship – 14th place versus Mikkelsen’s fourth – should give him an advantageous starting position to help his teammates score manufacturer points on the Coffs gravel stages.
Hyundai, which joined the WRC in 2014 and has shown relentless determination this season under new team manager Andrea Adamo, leads the chase for the manufacturers’ title with 380 points to Toyota’s 362 heading into Australia. Toyota is the defending champion, having clinched its title at Rally Australia last year.
Neuville narrowly lost the drivers’ championship to Toyota’s Ott Tänak in Spain last weekend, but the team announced yesterday it had signed the Estonian to a two-deal to make a mega-team comprising the two drivers plus nine-time champion Sébastien Loeb and Dani Sordo in 2020.
Breen’s future with the team remains unclear. He drove for Hyundai in Finland and Great Britain this year and was a Citroën regular in 2018, finishing seventh at Rally Australia.