Rally driver Craig Breen was killed in a crash on Thursday during a test event ahead of the world championship race in Croatia, his team said.
The full circumstances of the 33-year-old Irish driver’s death were not immediately clear.
AP Photo/Christian Alminana
“Hyundai Motorsport is deeply saddened to confirm that driver Craig Breen has lost his life today following an accident during pre-event testing for the Croatia Rally,” the team said in a statement. “Co-driver James Fulton was uninjured in the incident, which occurred just after noon local time. Hyundai Motorsport extends its deepest condolences to Craig’s family, friends and his many fans. Hyundai Motorsport will have no further comment at this time.”
Breen has competed in World Rally Championship events since 2009 for various teams. The event in Croatia was supposed to start next week.
“On behalf of the FIA, I would like to express my sincere condolences to the family and friends of Craig Breen following the death of Craig Breen during a private testing accident in Croatia,” said Mohamed Ben Sulayem, president of the FIA’s governing body. “Our thoughts and prayers are with his loved ones and the entire Assembly community at this difficult time.”
Breen was the son of a former Irish National Rally Champion and began his career in karting. He won several rally titles at various levels of national and international competition and was a regular podium finisher in the World Rally Championship. In 2012, he was involved in a crash at a rally in Italy in which his co-driver Gareth Roberts was killed.
“The Irish motorsport community is stunned by this tragic news,” Motorsport Ireland president Aidan Harper said in a statement. “Craig was a world-class driver and a world-class person.”
Harper said that last Tuesday, Brain attended an event in Ireland where “18 young drivers got to meet and learn from their heroes.”
The incident happened just days after the sprint car driver Justin Wayne has died He was injured when his car crashed during a race in southeastern Indiana.
The 26-year-old, from Harrison, Ohio, died after his car hit the outside wall and flipped several times during a qualifying race for the AMSOIL Sprint Car National Championship at Lawrenceburg Speedway, the US Auto Club confirmed.
Wayne is the reigning track champion with two feature wins and the title in 2022 at Lawrenceburg Speedway, USAC said. It was Wayne’s first crown at the 3/8-mile dirt oval where he has competed in the sprint car division for the past several seasons.