Ott Tanak admits Craig Breen tragedy is "eating us alive"

Ott Tanak has spoken publicly for the first time about how difficult it will be competing at Croatia Rally this weekend following the sudden death of Craig Breen in the country last week.
Ott Tanak admits Craig Breen tragedy is

Breen and team-mate James Fulton were involved in a testing accident last Thursday, with the 33-year-old Irish driver succumbing to the injuries he sustained.

Hyundai Motorsport released a statement yesterday in which it confirmed the car they were in was mechanically sound, although road conditions at the time of the crash were described as “slippery”.

The left-side of the i20 N Rally1 bore the brunt of the impact with a wooden fence positioned at the side of the road, with one of the posts entering the cabin through the driver’s window.

Prior to turning his attention to matters in the Baltic State, the 2019 World Champion visited Breen’s parents – Ray and Jackie – in Waterford last weekend to offer his condolences ahead of Tuesday’s Service of Thanksgiving.

Tanak – who was joint second quickest on the shakedown stage with 2021 winner Sebastien Ogier, eight tenths of a second down on last year’s winner Kalle Rovanpera with a time of 1m 53.6s – said the next few days would prove tough mentally for everyone, both out on the stages and back in the Zagreb service park.

“It is difficult, it is demanding, and it is so hard for all of us,” said Tanak. “It is empty inside and it is eating us alive, so it is tough, but yeah, I promised to give a smile to Jackie [Craig’s mum].

“She had so much positive energy when I was there last Sunday – they are such a lovely people – and have grown such a happy kid, so I was really happy to be there with them. We keep going and so do you,” he added.

Thierry Neuville – Breen’s team-mate at Hyundai Motorsport – expressed his sympathies at the end of his first run over the 3.65km of Okic, saying: “We are all very sorry for what happened.

“It will be a tough weekend for everybody but as a team and as a rally family we need to be strong and we need to keep going.

“That is what Craig would have wanted for sure. I think we have to try and enjoy it. It is one of the messages that Craig gave us.

“So, we will try to enjoy and bring back a good result for Craig. That is the target.”

Read More