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Craig Breen - In the World of Rallying

Condolence messages have been pouring in to where his family wrote: 'It is with great sadness that the Breen family announce the ...

Condolence messages have been pouring in to where his family wrote: 'It is with great sadness that the Breen family announce the tragic passing of the talented and much adored rally driver Craig Breen - doing what he loved most'.

One mourner wrote: 'He was the boy who got to live the dream of so many and he knew it, that’s why so many related to him.

'Rest easy Craig, you’ll be forever remembered as the gent you were. RIP.'

His death notice on reads: 'Craig will be reposing in his home on Monday from 2.30pm until 9pm. Craig’s removal will take place on Tuesday walking from his home at 12.15pm to The Sacred Heart Church Ferrybank (Waterford city) arriving for Requiem Mass at 1pm followed by burial in the adjoining cemetery.

'Treasured son of Jackie and Ray, he will be sadly missed by his heartbroken sister Kellie, brother-in-law Darragh and his godson Bobbie, along with his extended family, cherished friends and all his motorsport family.'

Name: Craig Breen
Nationality: Ireland
Date of birth: February 2, 1990 - Waterford, Ireland
Date of death: April 13, 2023 - Lobor, Croatia

Craig Breen was an Irish rally driver, who last competed part time for the Hyundai team in the World Rally Championship (WRC). He won the 2012 Super 2000 WRC, scoring class wins in the Monte Carlo Rally, Wales Rally GB, Rally France and the Rally of Spain. Breen won the WRC Academy Cup in 2011, winning his first event at the 2011 Rallye Deutschland and sealing the championship with a win at Wales Rally GB. The Academy title going down to the last stage, with Breen and Estonian rally driver Egon Kaur ending the season, both on 111 points, Breen then won the title on count back of stage wins, 39 to 14. Breen won the 2021 Rentokil Historic Rally in Killarney, Kerry, Ireland in his BMW M3 E30.
Craig was the son of Ray Breen, a national champion in Irish rallying. He began karting in 1999 in Ireland. He began rallying in 2007, combining it with karting commitments in Europe in 2008.
In 2009 he made the full-time switch to rallying, competing in the Irish, British and International Fiesta Sporting Trophys, winning all three championships. He also went on to win the Fiesta Sport Trophy International Shootout and was award a twelve month contract with M-Sport. For his achievements Breen was crowned Young Irish Rally Driver of the Year and received the Billy Coleman Award.
In 2010 he debuted the Ford Fiesta S2000 in both British Rally Championship and the Irish Tarmac Rally Championship. He took his first BRC victory on the 2010 Ulster Rally and went on to finish 2nd overall in the ITC. He also finished 17th overall in the car at the 2010 Rally Finland and 12th overall at Wales Rally GB.
In 2011, Breen competed in the WRC Academy driving a Ford Fiesta R2. He won his first WRC event at the Rallye Deutschland and his win at Wales Rally GB made him the inaugural WRC Academy Cup champion.
For 2012, Breen progressed to the S-WRC championship driving a Ford Fiesta S2000. He won the opening round at Monte Carlo and led the championship after the second round on Sweden.
In June 2012, Breen's co-driver Gareth Roberts was killed in an accident during the Targa Florio Rally, the fifth round of the 2012 Intercontinental Rally Challenge.
In Rally de Catalunya, in November, he won the Super 2000 world championship. At the end of the rally, a very emotional Breen declared "I'm a kid, I can't believe I've done this."
In 2013, Breen and co-driver Paul Nagle was signed by Peugeot to lead their ERC campaign called 'Peugeot Rally Academy'. Breen was successful, achieving five podium places during the season, and eventually finishing 3rd overall, missing out on the runner-up spot by only four points. Midway during the season Nagle left the team to help out Volkswagen's Andreas Mikkelsen in the WRC; from the Rajd Polski onwards, Belgian Lara Vanneste became Breen's co-driver.
Breen won his first ERC rally at the 2014 Acropolis Rally in Greece, driving a Peugeot 208 T16.
Breen and co-driver Scott Martin won the 2015 Circuit of Ireland Rally which has been a long-time ambition of Craig's especially as this would be the 20th anniversary of his Rally Idol's Tarmac Championship Win, that being the Late and Great Frank Meagher.
He did a part-time campaign with the CitroΓ«n Total World Rally Team in 2016, achieving his maiden Special Stage win and an emotional first podium finish with third place at the 2016 Rally Finland. He improved the result in 2018 by finishing second at the 2018 Rally Sweden.
In October 2021, it was announced that Breen would join M-Sport World Rally Team as their lead driver for the 2022 season. He joined Adrien Fourmaux and Gus Greensmith in competing all 13 rounds.
Before the 2022 Rally Catalunya, James Fulton became Breen's new co-driver after his long-time co-driver Paul Nagle announced his retirement. With Breen’s move from M-Sport to Hyundai Shell Mobis WRT confirmed for the 2023 World Rally Championship.
Breen died on 13 April 2023 after a crash driving his Hyundai i20 N Rally1 rally car in a testing session for the 2023 Croatia Rally. The front-left of his car collided with a pole on a road between Stari Golubovec and Lobor at 12.40 pm local time, fatally injuring Breen. Breen's co-driver James Fulton was uninjured.

source excerpts: wikipedia


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