Craig would have told me to accept Hyundai offer - Meeke

Kris Meeke has been called up to the Team Hyundai Portugal squad for this weekend’s Rali Terras d’Aboboreira to “carry on the legacy” of his late friend and former colleague, Craig Breen. 
Craig would have told me to accept Hyundai offer - Meeke

As part of his 2023 programme, 33-year-old Breen agreed to dovetail his FIA World Rally Championship commitments with a full-time campaign in the Portuguese Rally Championship alongside James Fulton. 

They came home sixth overall on the opening Rally Serras de Fafe aboard Hyundai Motorsport’s new i20 N Rally2 car, but crashed out of round two – Rallye Casinos do Algarve – at the start of the month.  

Meeke and Breen previously competed together in the Citroen Racing World Rally team, with both securing their breakthrough podiums in the World Rally Championship thanks to the French manufacturer. 

Those came on Rally Monte-Carlo in January 2014 and Rally Finland in the summer of 2016 respectively.

“My decision was not taken lightly,” said Meeke, who has spent the past twelve months helping Skoda Motorsport to develop its Fabia RS Rally2 car whilst making appearances in the Nitro Rallycross series.

“I first accepted the offer because it was my desire to compete again – but I also thought about what Craig would say to me, and I know that he would tell me to accept. 

“This is how I will honour Craig – I will continue to compete as he always has, I will try to win and enjoy it,” the 43-year-old continued.

Who will navigate for Meeke on the loose surface event – which gets underway on Friday afternoon with two 4.8-mile runs over ‘Baiao Vida’ followed by a short blast through ‘Baiao Destino Sustentavel’ before concluding on Saturday when crews tackle a further six speed tests – has still to be announced. 

Confirming the tie-up with Meeke, a spokesperson for Team Hyundai Portugal said: “After much deliberation, Hyundai Portugal has decided to invite Kris Meeke – an old friend of Craig’s – to take his place on the  

Hyundai Portugal Team at this week’s Rali Terras d’Aboboreira. Kris – a world renowned World Rally Championship driver and record holder – joins the Hyundai Portugal team to carry on Craig’s legacy.”  

Breen was due to compete at Croatia Rally last weekend with Hyundai Motorsport but lost his life in a pre-event testing accident the week before it. 

In his memory, a minute’s silence was held prior to the event starting last Thursday evening and once again at the podium celebrations on Sunday.  

Crews also elected to wear black armbands, with 42 – the number Breen carried on his doors – retired by the FIA and World Rally bosses until the end of the season. 

Read More