Tue 25 Apr 2023

View from the Service Park: Croatia

Croatia Rally’s ceremonial start had quickly established itself as one of the most popular in the series, with a Thursday night in Zagreb accompanied by lights, lasers and pyrotechnics. Last Thursday was different.

The loss of Craig Breen just days before the start of round four of this year’s WRC cast a dark cloud over the championship. Nobody knew what Thursday would look like. Nobody knew how they would feel, how they would react, how they would deal with the emotion.

It was raw.

The WRC community gathered to remember the Irishman and to create a photograph which reminded the world that this is a championship and a sport which stands together. Craig was the very definition of what rallying is all about. He was the most passionate, emotional, articulate and talented guy. In recognition of that, rivalries were forgotten as friendship was brought to the fore.

Hyundai Motorsport and everybody involved delivered a most dignified moment, but boy was it emotional. Watching the Craig tribute film was both a joy and a shocking wrench.

It was real.

Hyundai Motorsport team principal Cyril Abiteboul was clear that team was present in Croatia with the blessing of Craig’s family. That only served to heighten the emotion.

The competition came and while the crews accepted the necessary distraction as they set about doing what Craig was born to do, the support for Breen, his co-driver James Fulton and a genuinely world-wide friendship group was evident at almost every turn.

Last week was about the love for a man whose driving made the world smile and those words of his that brought the laughter. The service park came together; arms were wrapped around, shoulders cried on.

The atmosphere throughout the event was supportive, respectful, desperately sad and utterly joyful all at once.

Forever young, forever remembered, the service park provided a truly fitting tribute to Craig last week.

Croatia Rally 2023: Event Highlights
Latvia
Starts: Thursday, July 18, 2024 at 4:31:00 AM
Italy
Starts: Friday, July 26, 2024 at 7:00:00 AM
Hungary
Starts: Saturday, July 27, 2024 at 6:00:00 AM