Subscribe

Sign up for free

  • Get quick access to your favorite articles

  • Manage alerts on breaking news and favorite drivers

  • Make your voice heard with article commenting.

Autosport Plus

Discover premium content
Subscribe

Rally world pays tribute to Breen after tragic death

Members from the world of rallying have paid tribute to Craig Breen highlighting his character and enthusiasm following the Irishman's shock death.

Craig Breen, Hyundai World Rally Team

Photo by: Austral / Hyundai Motorsport

The factory Hyundai driver died on Thursday following a crash in testing ahead of next week's Rally Croatia, where the 33-year-old Irishman was set to make his second WRC start of the season.

Breen's death has triggered an outputting of tributes on social media from across the rally world.

Eight-time world rally champion Sebastien Ogier, like many, has been stunned by the news of Breen's death.

"I'm lost for words…Everyone loved Craig for his great Irish character and his enthusiasm for our sport," tweeted Ogier.

"My thoughts are with his family and friends in this very sad time. RIP Craig, we will miss you."

Nine-time world rally champion Sebastien Loeb echoed Ogier's sentiment, having been Breen's team-mate during his recent part-time WRC stints at Citroen, Hyundai and M-Sport.

"Life and this sport can be cruel sometimes… It is the case today. For your loved ones and for the family of WRC and motorsport," Loeb posted on social media. "Rest in peace Craig."

M-Sport's Ott Tanak also added his thoughts on the loss of Breen, the 2019 world champion stating: "I can't believe I'm writing this now.

"Life can be so fragile and unfair….. I can't believe we've lost you mate! Just we've been texting and another moment you're not answering anymore, I'll miss you buddy so bad, so so bad.

"My deepest condolences to Craig's family, friends and all the WRC family. There are no words, everything is just broken."

Craig Breen, Hyundai World Rally Team

Craig Breen, Hyundai World Rally Team

Photo by: Fabien Dufour / Hyundai Motorsport

Gus Greensmith, who spent a year as team-mate to Breen at M-Sport in 2022, was quick to pay tribute to Breen for the advice he'd offered to him during his career.

"Never did I think I'd be saying goodbye to you my friend," Greensmith wrote on social media.

"Thank you for every kind word, thank you for every piece of advice and thank you for being my friend. I'll miss you Craig."

Four-time WRC runner-up Mikko Hirvonen highlighted Breen's unwavering passion for rallying that took him to eight podiums, including six second-place finishes in the WRC's top-flight.

"I don't know anyone who loved driving more than you did, how much you enjoyed every minute of it," tweeted Hirvonen.

"It feels so unfair that this happened to you. But I know you will be going fast out up there. My heart is with your family tonight."

Breen's Hyundai WRC squad, which announced the tragic news, released a brief statement earlier today.

"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," read the statement.

"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."

One for Breen's former team-mates Kris Meeke wrote; "Life just doesn’t care. Sometimes there’s no rhyme nor reason. Just emptiness.

"Craig, this morning you woke up the happiest man alive.. living your dream.

"My lasting memory of you won’t be as a top class rally driver, but as the guy who took time with my kids and made them laugh more than I could. Your were a larger than life character and battled your way to the top with pure passion.

"Can’t believe it. Keep er lit up there… You will be solely missed."

Hyundai's president Sean Kim issued a statement on Friday:

"The reality of yesterday has still not sunk in, and it is unlikely to for a very long time. Everyone here in Alzenau is feeling the loss of our team-mate and friend Craig deeply, and we are supporting our colleagues through this incredibly difficult time.

"To say he was a much valued and well-regarded member of our team only touches the surface. Craig had a passion for rallying that ran deep. He was more than just a driver, he was a true lover of the sport. Craig wore his heart on his sleeve, something that enamoured him to so many people. He had a way with words that was completely unique; his end-of-stage quotes were always a highlight.

"Craig was also a phenomenal driver. There are so many highlights, both within our team and in the rest of his career, but in Rally Sweden he showed us his true essence. He was performing at the top of his game and reminding us all of the incredible talent he possessed. That podium meant a lot to us as a team, but you could see just how much it meant to him.

"It is clear the whole rallying community and beyond is feeling this profound loss. The outpouring of grief and sadness in the past day is testament to the man that Craig was. He leaves behind a legacy within Hyundai Motorsport and the wider motorsport community that is difficult to put into words. Rest in peace, dear friend." 

Additional reporting by Haydn Cobb

Be part of the Autosport community

Join the conversation
Previous article Hyundai WRC driver Craig Breen dies in testing crash
Next article Craig Breen obituary: WRC star dies aged 33

Top Comments

There are no comments at the moment. Would you like to write one?

Sign up for free

  • Get quick access to your favorite articles

  • Manage alerts on breaking news and favorite drivers

  • Make your voice heard with article commenting.

Autosport Plus

Discover premium content
Subscribe