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A tribute to Craig Breen

1 year ago

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Dan Prosser | Ti co-founder


13 April 2023

Years ago I was in Faro for Portugal’s round of the World Rally Championship. I was a young, inexperienced, somewhat nervous journalist traveling from the south of the country to Lisbon on a coach with the junior championship contingent – drivers, co-drivers, team people, series personnel and so on. I was there to produce some written work for the series itself and it was my job to spend time with the drivers and get to know them. 

I remember sitting on that coach, staring out of the window as the Portuguese landscape slipped by, feeling far too shy to approach any of them. It was far easier just to sit in my seat and look out at the countryside. Halfway to Lisbon, one of the drivers walked along the aisle, plonked himself down in the seat next to me and introduced himself. His name was Craig Breen. We chatted about rallying, about the new series and the cars, and after that it was the easiest thing in the world to talk to the other drivers and do the work I needed to do. 

In memory of Craig Breen

I wonder if Craig saw the apprehensive-looking journalist staring out the window and felt sorry for him. He must have. But choosing to do something about it, to make that guy’s life just a little bit easier, said an awful lot about Craig Breen’s character. 

He died today while testing his Hyundai WRC car on a pre-event test in Croatia. His co-driver, James Fulton, was unharmed in the accident. Craig was a phenomenal talent – he scored nine WRC podiums, won plenty of special stages and had he not lost his life today, I’d have bet plenty that his first win at the highest level was just around the corner. 

He really, really loved rallying too. Not just the driving, but the sport itself, its history. He was a student of it. I remember being at a test track in the Midlands with Prodrive several years ago to drive an E30 BMW M3 rally car it had just restored. Craig was there to test its modern four-wheel drive Subaru Impreza – but he was clearly jealous of those of us who were getting to drive the M3 instead. I have no doubt he’d have wrung the neck of that thing like few ever could. 

Rest in peace, Craig – and thank you for looking out for me on that coach.