Slieverue native and World Rally Championship standout Craig Breen has been killed in a testing incident ahead of WRC Croatia.
Hyundai Motorsport confirmed the news in a short statement released on Thursday afternoon.
“Hyundai Motorsport is deeply saddened to confirm that driver Craig Breen today lost his life following an accident during the pre-event test for Croatia Rally.”
“Co-driver James Fulton was unharmed in the incident that occurred just after midday local time.”
“Hyundai Motorsport sends its sincerest condolences to Craig’s family, friends and his many fans. Hyundai Motorsport will make no further comment at this time.”
Native of Slieverue, Breen (33) had rejoined Hyundai Motorsport for a part-time drive for this year’s WRC season having parted ways with M-Sport Ford following the conclusion of the 2022 calendar. He was taking part in a pre-event test for next week’s Croatia Rally with a crash occurring around 11am Irish time. Breen’s co-driver James Fulton was unharmed in the incident.
Breen’s start to this season’s WRC has been bright with a second-place finish at Rally Sweden in February in his first start of the year for Hyundai Motorsport, equalling a career-best podium finish earned in Sardinia last year, Estonia (2021) and Sweden (2018).
Motorsport Ireland have released a statement this afternoon with the organisation’s president Aiden Harper describing Breen as ‘world class’.
“The Irish motorsport community is numbed by this tragic news. Craig was a world class driver and a world class person. To Craig’s family, his parents Ray and Jackie, his sister Kellie, brother in law Darragh and nephew Bobbie, I wish to extend my deepest condolences and all our thoughts remain with Craig’s co-driver James Fulton. May they all find the strength and support they need at this unimaginably tragic time.”
You can read their statement in full here.