The Hyundai team announced on Thursday that Craig Breen, Ireland's top rally driver, has passed away following an accident during a training run for the Croatian round of the world championship. The team shared no details of the crash but confirmed that co-driver James Fulton is alive and well. It is being said that Breen’s car went out of control and off the road, and then dashed into a pole.
Since 2009, Breen has participated in World Rally Championship competitions for several teams. The Croatian tournament was slated to begin the following week. The 33-year-old finished second in his final race at Rally Sweden in February after making 82 appearances in the World Rally Championship (WRC). "This awful news has stunned the Irish motorsports community. In a statement of condolence, Motorsport Ireland president Aiden Harper said, "Craig was a world-class driver and a world-class person.
Breen started his career in karting and is the son of a former Irish national rally champion. He was a frequent podium finisher in the World Rally Championship and won numerous rally titles at different levels of national and international competition.
He frequently competed in the world championship over the years, albeit rarely for an entire season, and despite never taking first place, he came in second in six rallies. Breen is the first fatality in the world championship since German junior co-driver Joerg Bastuck in the 2006 Rally of Catalunya.