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Irish rally driver Craig Breen dies in crash

  • April 13, 2023

Irish world rally champion Craig Breen died on Thursday after an accident in Croatia, where he was preparing for a rally next week.

Breen’s car swerved off the road just after midday local time. The 33-year-old was with co-driver James Fulton, who was unharmed in the accident, Hyundai Motorsport said in a statement.

“Hyundai Motorsport sends its sincerest condolences to Craig’s family, friends and his many fans,” the team said.

The Croatia Rally, the fourth event this season, runs from April 20-23.

Rival teams and world motorsport’s governing body, the FIA, also sent their condolences. 

Like father, like son

Breen is the son of former Irish champion Ray Breen. He followed in his father’s footsteps, moving in 2009 into full-time rallying. He was known for his jovial manner, typically sporting a smile.

Breen won the International, British and Irish Fiesta Sporting Trophy titles that year, being crowned Ireland’s Young Driver of the year, according to his profile on the World Rally Championship website.

In 2016, Breen got the chance to compete at the World Rally Championship’s top level. He drove a DS 3 World Rally Car on selected rounds for the Abu Dhabi Total World Rally Team. He claimed a significant third place in Finland and several stage wins over the course of his career.

He was later picked up by Hyundai Motorsport, but failed to win a full-time seat with them.

Breen then briefly moved to M-Sport Ford to lead the team into a new hybrid-powered era of the championship, before moving back to Hyundai at the end of 2022.

BREEN Craig (irl), NAGLE Paul (irl), M-Sport Ford World Rally Team, Ford Puma Rally 1, action during the Rally Finland 2022, 8th round of the 2022 WRC World Rally Car Championship, from August 4 to 7, 2022 at Jyvaskyla, Finland
Breen competed with Citroen, Hyundai and Ford during his time in WRCImage: Nikos Katikis/DPPI media/picture alliance

rmt/msh (AFP, Reuters)

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