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Co-driver Fulton set for rally return alongside Kris Meeke

Craig Been’s former co-driver James Fulton will return to rally action alongside former World Rally Championship event winner Kris Meeke at Rally Portugal next week.

James Fulton, Hyundai World Rally Team

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The Irishman teamed up with Breen for the final WRC round in Japan last year ahead of the 2023 campaign with Hyundai, which would have seen the duo share the third factory i20 N.

Fulton was alongside Breen for what was the 33-year-old’s final WRC event at Rally Sweden, where the pair finished second, before the former tragically died in a testing accident ahead of last month’s WRC round in Croatia. Fulton was unharmed in the incident.

Alongside the WRC campaign, Fulton had committed to partnering Breen in the Portuguese Rally Championship, competing for the Team Hyundai Portugal squad in a Rally2 I20 N.

This seat has been filled by five-time WRC rally winner Meeke following an invite from the squad to the Northern Irishman, who was a former team-mate and close friend of Breen.

Running in special livery to honour the late Hyundai factory driver, Meeke claimed an emotional victory at Rali Terras d’Aboboreira last weekend alongside Ola Floene, who stepped into the co-driver seat.

Podium: Craig Breen, James Fulton, Hyundai World Rally Team Hyundai i20 N Rally1

Podium: Craig Breen, James Fulton, Hyundai World Rally Team Hyundai i20 N Rally1

Photo by: Fabien Dufour / Hyundai Motorsport

After describing the call as “not an easy decision”, Fulton has now decided to join Meeke to continue the Portuguese Rally Championship programme he started alongside Breen for the remainder of the season.

“It was a very tough moment, but I feel, now, ready to return,” said Fulton. “It wasn’t an easy decision, but I know it’s what Craig would have wanted.

“I started this challenge with him, and I feel the best way to honour him is to finish what we started together.”

The next round of the Portuguese national championship will be held at Rally Portugal next weekend, which will also host the fifth round of the WRC season.

While competing in the national class the duo will also be entered into the WRC2 class for the gravel rally which will feature a strong line-up including points leader Yohan Rossel, Sweden winner Oliver Solberg and Mexico victor Gus Greensmith.

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