By any standards it has been an incredible journey, one which has seen an apprentice aircraft fitter progress through the ranks of three of motorsport's premier categories before electing to take up a senior management position at a Formula One facility which promises to be one of, if not the, most spectacular circuits built in recent times.
Along the way triumph has mixed with tragedy, success with failure and honour with humiliation, but through it all Toyota Motorsport GmbH's departing team manager Richard Cregan remained one of the sport's better guys, always ready with a smile and a good word despite the enormous pressures of his job.
The Irishman was in a rut as aircraft mechanic with Aer Lingus when the brainwave hit him: he would use his discounted travel benefits to facilitate a career in international motorsport - as a mechanic. Through amateur rally and rallycross exploits, mainly in a Hillman Imp, he had met some of rallying's names, one being the legendary former co-driver Henry Liddon, then a partner of Ove Andersson in Team Toyota Europe after having navigated for the Swede around the world.
Richard Cregan © LAT
"I've always had an interest in motorsport and when I heard they (TTE) were doing the Safari Rally I wrote to Henry, who I'd met by chance, and offered my services free of charge," recalled Richard on Sunday morning at Interlagos, shortly before a farewell for him had been organised by the team.