Craig Breen, an Irish rally car driver who drove for Hyundai Motorsport, was killed in a pre-event test in Croatia, the team said in a statement on Thursday. Breen was 33.
Breen’s co-driver James Fulton was uninjured in the crash.
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Craig Breen and James Fulton during the FIA ERC Rallye Serras De Fafe, in Fafe, Portugal, on March 10, 2023. (Bruno Penas Fernandez/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
Breen, who drove in the World Rally Championship (WRC), went off the road while he was preparing for the Croatia Rally event next week, according to Motorsport.com. His vehicle reportedly struck a pole.
“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,” the team said in a statement.
“Hyundai Motorsport sends its sincerest condolences to Craig’s family, friends and his many fans.”
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Craig Breen and James Fulton compete with their Hyundai Shell Mobis WRT Hyundai i20 N Rally1 Hybrid during the FIA World Rally Championship on Feb. 10, 2023, in Umea, Sweden. (Massimo Bettiol/Getty Images)
WRC added separately: “At this sad time the thoughts of the WRC family are with the loved ones of Craig. WRC Promoter expresses its sincere condolences to his family, friends and colleagues.”
Breen was sixth in the 2023 standings through three races.
He was the son of former champion Ray Breen and began his career in racing with karting in Ireland. He moved to rally driving in 2009.
He had one championship, eight podiums and 30 stage wins during his WRC career.
Craig Breen during the second round of the FIA World Rally Championship on Feb. 9, 2023, in Hakmark, Sweden. (Micke Fransson/TT News Agency/AFP via Getty Images)
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Breen’s WRC profile described him as “a charismatic Irishman who wears his heart on his sleeve and has a penchant for delivering cracking one-liners to waiting media.”