Watch: 'I'm not going to cry this time' - Craig Breen shares adorable moment with his mum after historic second-placed finish at Rally Sweden
Ireland's Craig Breen has achieved a career-best second-placed finish in Rally Sweden.
A native of Slieverue on the Waterford/Kilkenny border, the 28 year old safely guided his Citroen C3 WRC car over the final three stages to achieve the second podium finish of his career.
“I'm not going to cry this time. It's awesome. I'm absolutely on top of the world, a big stepping stone this weekend. I have to thank every single person around me,” said an emotional Breen as he exchanged a congratulatory handshake with his British co-driver Scott Martin.
Not only this man, the engineers, my family, my friends, everybody. They've stuck with me this past year when things have been difficult.
"The boys have made this thing work. It's pure pleasure right now."
This is the highest ever finish achieved by a driver from the Republic of Ireland in a World rally event. His Citreon team Kris Meeke from Dungannon in County Tyrone and his Kerry born co-driver Paul Nagle has won five world rallies in the last three years
The Sweden rally was won by Belgian driver Thierry Neuville in a Hyundai while Breen held off the challenge of another Hyundai driver Andres Mikkelsen in the contest for the second spot.
The Irishman obviously enjoys the challenge of the snow and ice as his previous best finish in a World rally was a third place spot at Rally Finland in 2016 – a performance which ultimately secured him a full works drive with the Citroen team.
He finished fifth in last year's Rally Sweden. Overall the car underperformed in 2017 but even though he finished 9th in last month's Monte Carlo rally, Breen's speed was eye catching.
It is amazing to finish on the podium here at Rally Sweden, but it is also brilliant to show the pace we always knew we had! Massive thank you to the team, my engineer Thomas and all the fans for your incredible support! pic.twitter.com/09RLio9jOs— Craig Breen (@Craig_Breen) February 18, 2018
He realised that potential in Sweden posting fastest times on three of the nineteen stages and at one point on Saturday afternoon it looked like he would challenge Neuville for the leadership.
The Belgian driver sensed the danger and eventually opened up a gap of 19.8 seconds on the Irishman who in turn was 8.5 seconds ahead of Mikkelsen.
The championship points he secured in Sweden will push him up near the top of the leader board in the drivers' championship albeit at a very early stage of the season.
Next stop for Breen, who first competed in a world rally event in Portugal in 2009, is the Mexican rally on March 8-11.