WRC ORLEN 80th Rally Poland
Poland
Starts: Thursday, June 27, 2024 at 8:00:00 AM
ERC Bauhaus Royal Rally of Scandinavia
Sweden
Starts: Thursday, June 13, 2024 at 12:00:00 PM
Ferratum World RX of Sweden 1
Sweden
Starts: Saturday, July 6, 2024 at 6:00:00 AM

Sat 15 Apr 2023

How we'll remember Craig

WRC commentators Becs Williams, Mike Chen and Julian Porter describe how they will remember their friend Craig Breen.

Mike Chen

Craig Breen. A man who famously drove a WRC car (on more than one occasion) through a McDonalds drive-thru for chicken nuggets. That was Craig. The most likeable, entertaining and quick-witted character in the service park.

He loved where he came from, his Irish roots meant the world. His heroes weren’t former WRC champions, oh no. Craig Breen’s heroes were Irish National Champions. He was a proud Irishman and Ireland was proud to have him.

We all heard them - his end of stage interviews were the stuff of legend, you never knew what you were going to get, but it would either make you laugh or leave you with a lump in your throat. That infectious personality and humbleness was what made people around the world instantly warm to his character.

And for those lucky enough to know him well, we can all agree that Craig was far more than one of the best drivers in the world and a man able to come up with some quick wit when a microphone was pointed in his direction. He genuinely cared about people and their wellbeing – it didn’t matter who it was. He was not just one of the best rally drivers in the service park, but one of the best people in the service park.

He loved rallying. More than anything else. He lived and breathed it. He was living his dream every day and often told me how grateful he was for that. He never took it for granted. There was nothing on planet Earth he was more passionate about, especially the historic stuff. In truth, that’s where his heart lay – it’s just he was too good not to be driving a World Rally Car as well.

There was so much more to come from both disciplines and it’s so sad we won’t get to see all of it materialise. But I am sure he is already back in the seat with Jaff alongside him!

The entire rallying community, both at home and around the world, will never be the same without Craig’s enthusiasm and passion for the sport and people. I am privileged to say he was my friend, I will miss him dearly.

I stopped at McDonalds on the way back from the Breen family home last night. The chicken nuggets didn’t taste the same. They won’t do again. Rally in Peace brother.

Becs Williams

Words alone, no matter how beautifully written, can not represent the true warmth, energy and passion that Craig Breen brought with him, wherever he went.

It is true that he was happiest in a pair of overalls, cup of tea in hand with the prospect of a full day’s rallying ahead. Probably in something historic. His friends all around and his biggest cheerleaders, his Mam & Dad stage side, as they always were throughout his career.

His love of the sport was undeniable and it was infectious. If you weren’t a fan of rallying, Breen could easily turn you into one. Rallying brought him joy, and he in turn gave that joy to a global fan base.

Who will ever forget his stage end reactions in Sweden 2023? Elation. Exhilarating happiness.

And we were all basking in that wonderful glow, because it made us feel good to watch how much he loved what he was doing. It was a tonic. And on these darker days, it helps to remember that smile.

A million memories, and all in vibrant colour, because that is what Craig was. He loved life and it showed. He never took himself too seriously and if anyone around him did, he could bring them back down to earth with a witty one-liner. Usually with some reference to the TV show ‘Father Ted’.

Yes, he loved his tea - that is well documented. He was an extremely fussy eater and despite having one of the best chefs in the service park at Citroën, I watched in awe as he ate the plainest, most unappetising-looking food - with a big smile on his face!

I am so glad to have been there for all the highs and lows of his career. To celebrate his successes but to also marvel at how he picked himself back up after tragedy, after disappointment. He was a true warrior and he had my utmost respect.

I’ll be forever thankful for his friendship. I’ll miss his random texts about cooking disasters and how he burnt mashed potatoes, his proud pictures of his nephew and his witty observations whilst watching All Live at home. It’s the small stuff that really hits home.

Keep smiling, Craig. It is the way I will always remember you.

Julian Porter

Where do I start? There are so many memories, but here are some that stand out to me.

I remember at Wales Rally GB in 2011, I was standing in the back of the timing van, waiting for the stage time of Egon Kaur. It was the final stage of that season's WRC Academy championship, and I believed that Breen and Roberts had done enough to win the championship. Once I saw Kaur's time, I shouted it out to them, and their reaction on hearing the news confirmed to me that they had won. The emotion was palpable.

I also recall texting Craig on his birthday, wishing him well on his special day. He was testing in the snow, and he replied, saying: "I could be driving a maxi kit car in the Isle of Man, but I'll take it anyway! Thanks."

While I didn't achieve anywhere near what Craig did when I drove, he always reminded me of how jealous he was that I'd driven a works F2 Kit Car.

During our one-to-one filming sessions, Craig showed his full passion for the sport he loved so much. He had a wealth of memories from all the years, the cars, the drivers. He could pull up a clip from the internet in a second of something he had seen and tell you a story about what we were watching. It was never a dull moment with him, and he always had a huge smile on his face.

Spending time with Craig left you in no doubt that rally was his love and life. He proved that with hard work, passion, and commitment, you can achieve your dreams. I will miss him.