Hyundai WRC Driver Craig Breen Killed in Crash During Croatia Rally Test

The 33-year-old had just finished second at Rally Sweden in February.

byCaleb Jacobs|
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Hyundai Motorsport confirmed World Rally Championship driver Craig Breen died in a crash while testing on Thursday, April 13. The 33-year-old Irishman was preparing for Rally Croatia when the fatal wreck occurred.

Investigation of the crash indicates that Breen was killed instantly when his car unexpectedly slid off the road and a wooden fence post fatally struck him through the driver's window.

Hyundai Motorsport team principal Cyril Abiteboul issued a statement on Wednesday, April 19, explaining details of the incident and how the team will go forward following Breen's death:

"Moving to this weekend and Croatia Rally, it was clear from the feedback from all stakeholders, and Craig’s family and friends, that the competitive spirit of Craig would have wanted this weekend’s rally to continue and for his teammates to participate.
 
"We thought long and hard about how to do this and how best to honor Craig. To this end, we are contesting the event with two cars, both running with a special livery to honor Craig, his Irish roots and his beloved Irish rally community."

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FIA President Mohammed Ben Sulayem lamented Breen's death in saying, “On behalf of the FIA, I extend sincere condolences to the family & friends of Craig Breen following his passing during a private testing accident. Our thoughts & prayers are with his loved ones & the Rally community at this difficult time.”

The motorsport world is actively grieving Breen's death, WRC's first since co-driver Jörg Bastuck was struck and killed at the 2006 Rally Catalunya. Drivers from other disciplines, automotive executives, and rally fans have shared their heartaches on social media. Breen first competed at the top level of rallying more than a decade ago, making an impact with Hyundai as well as the M-Sport team backed by Ford.

Breen managed 30 WRC stage wins throughout his career and eight podiums. He and Fulton finished second at the 2023 Rally Sweden event on Feb. 9-12.

Update at 8:10 a.m. on 4/20/2023: This story now includes a statement from Hyundai Motorsport team principal Cyril Abiteboul, as well as details about the team's plans to honor Breen at Rally Croatia.

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